After a successful first year at their Williamston location, the totally rad and hip donut shop, Groovy Donuts, has just opened the doors of their second location in East Lansing. Now music fanatics, flower children or individuals who just love going to a café, can enjoy fresh donuts, fritters, muffins and an exceptional coffee menu in the heart of Spartan nation. Store owner, Andrew Gauthier is ecstatic to see a second location come to life, as having multiple locations has always been an ultimate goal for his establishment.
“From the beginning, I envisioned Groovy Donuts with the potential of having multiple locations,” said Gauthier. “Being an MSU alumnus, East Lansing was always on my radar and I was just keeping an eye out for the right opportunity.”
Both locations display 60’s and 70’s vibes and offer the same menu. The primary difference between the two stores is that the East Lansing location is much larger and provides greater counter space.
Groovy Donuts in East Lansing is located at 3054 E Lake Lansing Rd. Gauthier noted that the fact that there was a bakery in the space formerly made the updates that needed to be made much easier, costing Gauthier approximately $10,000.
So far, customers are responding very positively to the new location and even regulars from Groovy Donuts Williamston attended opening day at the East Lansing establishment. During the “soft opening” on Sept. 16, the store sold 1,200 donuts, equating to some $1,400 in sales in the first day.
“Opening weekend for us was a total blur. We had double the staff, double the customers and more than double the donuts,” said Gauthier. “My partner, Monica and I, were running on almost no sleep, caffeine and adrenaline. It was one of those weekends we will look back on in the future and laugh, but for now we’ll pour ourselves another cup of coffee.”
Tapping Into the Café Market
A simple conversation Gauthier had with his father back in Feb. 2015 began the idea of Groovy Donuts. After debating where they could find a good cup of coffee and a donut in the Lansing area, Gauthier realized that this market had not been touched. Also, after growing up with a long line of family who have excelled in entrepreneurial careers, it was no surprise that Gauthier would also follow suit.
“I had always wanted to run my own café, so the gears started turning in my head immediately,” said Gauthier. “This was an untapped market [in Lansing] and the more I thought about the idea, the more excited I got. Within days of that conversation I had completed my initial business plan.”
Groovy Donuts currently has 13 employees, many of them attending high schools and colleges in the surrounding areas like East Lansing High, Williamston High, Michigan State University or Lansing Community College.
Before opening Groovy Donuts, Gauthier and the team strived to view all aspects of a coffee and donut shop from the lens of the consumer, so that they could make the shop a special and unique experience for all. They approached this task by selecting specific suppliers and ingredients and then determining what they would buy if they were customers.
“Ultimately it comes down to the simple question, ‘Would I buy this donut?’ It’s not put out for sale, unless our answer is a definitive ‘yes’,” said Gauthier. “We sampled donut ingredients from several suppliers.”
Providing Nostalgia to All
The initial thought on the look and feel of the donut shop was that it should be retro. To Gauthier, he felt that donut shops and bakeries were big sources of nostalgia for people; so with that in mind, his goal was to capture that nostalgic feeling in his shop.
Gauthier decided to include a fun and universal theme, which made him lean toward the 60’s and 70’s era of music and film. It’s safe to say at Groovy Donuts, the “rad atmosphere and far-out imagery” inside the store is much different from any other coffee and donut shop. Think bright colors and designs throughout the shop, even the logo includes the 60’s era font known as “psychedelia.” Customers will also find Rock N’ Roll posters adorning the walls, with famous bands and artists such as Rush, The Beatles, Santana, Jimmy Hendrix and more.
“There is nothing quite like seeing someone walk in, point at the Rush poster and say, ‘Hey, I saw them in Flint in 1973,’” said Gauthier. “While the “older crowd” has been very receptive to the theme, we are very pleased to see the high school and college crowd bobbing their head along to Santana jamming in the background.”
Committed to Customers & Community Through Customization
Currently, there are over 100 flavor variations at Groovy Donuts. According to Gauthier, the donut flavor creations have been a result of customer suggestions, research and development, and some input from friends and family.
“Some [flavors] work, some don’t, but it is always fun to try new ones,” said Gauthier. “However, we are committed to a high level product, as our donuts are made fresh every morning. We feel that this is the only way to serve them. In fact, if you come early enough, your donut may still be warm, and sometimes the glaze or frosting still hasn’t set!”
In addition to their variety of donut flavors and exceptional quality, Groovy Donuts also offers custom donuts for special orders and events. Some customized donuts include Detroit Tigers, bridal party themed and donuts decorated for the holidays.
“As you can see, we have some fun referencing 60’s and 70’s era music and films with our products,” said Gauthier. “Our customers seem to enjoy that too, and frankly, I haven’t seen anyone frown when “Let’s Groove” by Earth, Wind and Fire comes on in the shop.”
Groovy Donuts is also very committed to the community. One example of their support to the community is their donation of leftovers to local food banks and homeless shelters. Gauthier noted that one afternoon they received a package full of “thank you” letters from grateful individuals who received the donuts.
“Reading those letters literally had Monica [business partner] in tears and had me choked up as well,” stated Gauthier. “Those moments are what make it happen for us.”
For more information about Groovy Donuts, visit facebook.com/groovydonuts or facebook.com/groovydonutseastlansing.