Sweetheart Donuts. The name alone conjures up memories among the locals of mouthwatering donuts and maple bars from that little shack where the donut man made his treats for all to enjoy.
Day in and day out he was there. Then, one day he wasn’t. The community was shocked. The original Sweetheart Donuts had been located near the corner of Franklin Avenue and Third Street in Bend since the early 1970s and closed at the end of January 2009. There was no last hurrah, no come buy donuts or our doors will close, no final send off. Just an empty “hole” where there should have been donuts.
More than five years later the new Sweetheart Donuts’ owner, Danielle Levine, is delighted to have the opportunity to revive the brand for our community and grow a successful business with her family.
Combining a strong passion for customer service excellence and baking and decorating, she set out to recreate a beloved and successful donut shop. She started by learning about the industry, the subtleties of creating a consistently great product, job shadowing at the Sugar Shack on the Oregon Coast with Tony Hausmann and building a team of dedicated supporters that have helped her get her business started.
In addition to hands on training from Bakemark distributing and the Sugar Shack staff she worked closely with Maureen Quinn from the Small Business Development Center at Central Oregon Community College. After nearly two years of planning, taking classes and working two jobs to save for her down payment, Danielle was ultimately able to complete her finance package through the State of Oregon’s Entrepreneurial Development Loan Fund and her plan was ready to “roll.”
Danielle and her sister, Chasity Levine, worked countless hours installing equipment, ordering supplies, cleaning, and preparing for opening day, which happened as quietly as the old shop closing. They practiced their specialty donuts for days until they had perfected the Bigfoot (think giant chocolate or maple bar in the shape of a foot packed full of whipped cream), the Giant Pretzel and the Raspberry Fritter. Now known as the sweethearts at Sweetheart Donuts they make more than 30 varieties of handmade donuts, more on the weekends, and they make a great cup of old-fashioned drip coffee.
Conveniently located at 210 SE Third Street (just South of the Third Street underpass), Sweetheart Donuts is a walk in shop that also boasts the only drive-up donut shop in Bend. “Some people get confused about how to use our drive-up” says Levine. “We’re old school, so you won’t find any annoying speaker around here. Just drive up to the south side window and we’ll be there in a minute to take your order – face to face. Our customers love that!”
When asked how business has been so far she smiles and replies “It’s been crazy! We’ve already had to hire an additional team member and ask businesses to call their larger orders in ahead of time. On Saturday’s the line is often out the door. It’s everything I could have hoped for and more.”We asked how her business plan has come together and if there was anything she left out. She giggles and replies “Yes, sleep.”
Sweetheart Donuts is a start-up donut shop owned and operated by 27 year old entrepreneur, Danielle Levine. Sweetheart donuts are handmade and served fresh 7 days a week from 5:30am to 2pm or until sold out. Offer walk-in and drive-up services at 210 SE 3rd Street in Bend. Not affiliated with the original Sweetheart Donuts but are excited to revive the name for the community. Supporters of the Bend Spay and Neuter Project. 541-323-3788