By Rebecca Doran
For Corey Smale and Tyler Fenwick, doughnuts are more than just food, they are an experience. Smale and Fenwick are co-owners of Strange Donuts, a doughnut shop in Maplewood.
Since the opening of Strange Donuts on Oct. 11, Smale said the shop, located on 2709 Sutton Blvd., has been busy. Despite the long hours, Smale said it is still fun. Both Smale and Fenwick have loved doughnuts for a while.
“They’re more than just food,” Smale said. “They’re kind of like an experience attached to that.”
Part of the experience for Smale, is the smell of a doughnut shop. He said every doughnut shop has the same smell. He was worried that Strange Donuts wouldn’t have the doughnut shop smell.
“Are we gonna have that smell? And we do’” Smale said. “It smells like fun.”
Smale and Fenwick noticed a lack of unique doughnut shops in St. Louis. Their love for doughnuts and the lack of creative doughnuts in the area prompted Smale and Fenwick to open the first Strange Donuts.
Kevin Chau, a senior biology major at Webster University, has been waiting for Strange Donuts to open since National Doughnut Day on June 7. Chau said he first ate a Strange Donut at a doughnut festival.
“The doughnuts were delicious. I had to look them up,” Chau said.
Chau said he followed Strange Donuts on the Internet and at their events “religiously” before the opening.
Strange Donuts gained community support from a website called kickstarter. The site is a way to find funding for projects. The funding comes from anyone who wants to donate money towards the project of their choice, who are called “backers”. Strange Donuts had 342 “backers” and raised $12,557 on kickstarter.com. In addition to the money, Strange Donuts built a fan base from kickstarter.
The doughnut community across the country has also been helpful in the start up of Strange Donuts. Smale said the creative doughnut shops reach out to each other through social media to offer help and advice. Smale said this is where he got inspiration for some of the Strange Donuts creations.
Some of the selections at Strange Donuts include blueberry cheesecake, Bart’s revenge with a Butterfinger crumble topping, PB&J and Mexican hot chocolate. But the strangest doughnuts are saved for that weeks’ “stranger.”
Every Thursday night a “stranger” doughnut is released and is available through the weekend. Some past “strangers” have been a chicken and waffle doughnut, a brisket and gravy doughnut and a cookie or peanut butter “fat baby.”
Kuva Coffee is also joining in what Chau calls the “doughnut culture.” The coffee company made a special, Strange Donut coffee blend to better compliment the doughnuts.
Even with all of the community involvement Smale is just happy to share the doughnut experience.
“That’s what it’s all about for us,” Smale said. “Creating this experience and making awesome doughnuts, it’s what we love to do.”