Amy's Donuts is a mom-and-pop business that's finding success by offering more than just your father's doughnuts.
When it opened almost a year ago on Colorado Springs' south side, Amy's gained a following with traditional glazed doughnuts. But the shop started attracting more customers as husband-and-wife owners Amy and Chin Kim began topping their doughnuts with more than just glaze.
"The simple glazed doughnut that was bringing in the crowds at first, we're now topping it and making that experience even better by doing some fun toppings that people aren't normally used to," Chin Kim said.
Such as? How about a doughnut with cheesecake crushed on top of vanilla icing. Or a s'mores doughnut with chocolate, marshmallow fluff and graham crackers. Or even an Elvis doughnut topped with the king's favorite foods - peanut butter, banana chips, bacon and chocolate fudge. Now that's a hunka, hunka burning love.
Amy's now has more than 100 toppings and doughnut varieties. Their popularity has grown to the point where the Chins are adding a second location in Pueblo to meet the demand of Steel City customers who drive to the Springs for the doughnuts. The Kims hope to open the shop by mid-December.
"They appreciate something different, something that's not always traditional," Chin said of his customers. "No one thinks to put a cookie on a doughnut or a candy bar on a doughnut."
The Kims opened Amy's in an old Dairy Queen at 2704 E. Fountain Blvd. on Dec. 7.
Chin, who planned a sports broadcasting career after graduating a decade ago from the University of Texas, learned the doughnut business when he worked with his parents at their three stores in Texas and New Mexico.
Amy, meanwhile, was an electrical engineer at Texas Instruments in Dallas.
The Kims visited the Springs, liked the area and moved in September of last year. They opened their store after deciding the city lacked a family location for soft, fresh doughnuts, Chin said.
When they opened, Amy, Chin and Chin's parents ran the store; now, Amy's employs 20 people.
The Pueblo store will have 15 to 20 employees, Chin said.
The doughnut industry has plenty of competition. Most groceries have bakeries, while chains such as Dunkin' Donuts and Southern Maid have recently expanded in the Pikes Peak region.
Amy's sells a dozen glazed doughnuts for $8, and its specialty topped doughnuts go for $10 a dozen. That's more than most groceries charge, but Chin says Amy's puts more into its doughnuts - including the toppings and the labor cost to decorate them.
"It's a little more than what you're used to paying, but these are a step up," Chin said.
The Kims are eying an expansion to the Denver area, where Voodoo Doughnut - also known for unconventional toppings - "is the kingpin," Chin said.
However, they aren't looking for a second Springs location; real estate on the city's north side is pricey, Chin said, and the south-side location has become a destination for many people.