What happens when the super popular Dutch Bros. Coffee drive-thru opens next to a mom-and-pop doughnut shop in Fresno?
We’re about to find out.
Dutch Bros. latest location opened at 6 a.m. Friday in the same parking lot as Sprinkles Donuts at the northwest corner of Maple and Behymer avenues in Fresno.
If it’s like any other Dutch Bros. in town, the coffee shop with the walk-up window will be sure to attract long lines in its drive-thru. (It doesn’t have indoor seating and most Dutch Bros don’t sell pastries.)
Friday, Dutch Bros. will be selling $1 16-ounce drinks all day. They will also sell $1 glazed doughnuts made by Sprinkles with blue frosting, yellow and red sprinkles (Dutch Bros.’ colors) and a dollop of whipped cream in the middle. The money from both will be donated to Valley Children’s Hospital.
They stay very much (with) the classic style donuts – kinda throwback, nostalgic doughnuts.
Having such a bustling business nearby could bump up sales at the doughnut shop that is the definition of a small business with husband-and-wife owners who wake at 3 a.m. and work seven days a week (more on that in a moment). That depends upon whether Dutch Bros. customers are inspired to pair a doughnut with their white chocolate coconut milk mocha.
But it could backfire too. Dutch Bros. customers might skip the doughnut. Or, the shopping center’s parking lot, which isn’t huge, could fill up with so many Dutch Bros. customers that it could deter Sprinkles regular customers.
The family behind Sprinkles has been making doughnuts for 30 years and is hoping for the best.
“I think we’ll be more busy. I hope that they’re going to drive through after they buy the coffee and come here,” says owner Chenlee Hok.
The doughnut shop already has plenty of happy customers and gets 4.5 stars (out of five) on Yelp.com. Unlike the trendy new doughnuts shops using toppings like hot Cheetos, Hok specializes in traditional doughnuts. They’re not oily or greasy, he says, but light and fluffy.
That’s his craft. They’ve always wanted to be business owners and own their own shop.
Hok and his wife Sovanya are the only employees at the shop. They’re already making 700 doughnuts on weekdays and 1,000 on weekends.
They trade off resting after their early morning baking sessions and do everything else in the shop, from frosting the doughnuts to making cappuccinos and scooping the ice cream they sell in the afternoons. The camera-shy couple open the shop at 6:30 a.m. and stay open til 5 p.m on weekdays and 3 p.m. on weekends.
“People don’t really understand how much work goes into operating a doughnut shop,” says their daughter, Soreath Hok, who worked at her parents’ shop after school and on weekends. Now she runs a marketing company in Sacramento and helps out with Sprinkles’ social media.
Chenlee Hok has been baking doughnuts since 1987, shortly after he came to the United States from Cambodia. He’d never made doughnuts before but his brother helped him get a job at a doughnut shop and he learned the trade. Two years later, after saving and borrowing from family, the couple opened their first shop in Tehachapi.
Happy to leave the snow behind, they owned a few other shops in southern California before moving to Fresno.
The Hok family is bumping up their social media presence and getting new signs to draw customers into the shop.
“My dad has really perfected making doughnut,” Soreath Hok says. “I’m so excited to see their hard work finally pay off. For this opportunity to come, it’s almost like a godsend. They’ve been toiling away behind the scenes for a long time.”