by Lee Noles
MONROE – It’s an early Saturday morning in downtown Monroe, and Gene Shelton is already having to do something at Your Mom’s Donuts shop which would make other business owners envious.
Shelton is having to tell customers he is selling out of doughnuts, and fast.
When a doughnut is no longer available, Shelton reaches to a chalkboard and marks an X beside the flavor. For Shelton, who is part-owner of the Monroe store, this has become a pretty common occurrence for a Saturday. He’s already had to mark five off the list by 9:30 a.m.
“I’d rather still have more doughnuts and be open,” said Shelton, who either closes at 1 p.m., or when the doughnuts sell out. “Because these are just good donuts, and I want to share them with everyone.”
Courtney Buckley launched Your Mom’s Donuts in Matthews in 2013. She started making doughnuts and delivering them around the area before opening her own store in 2014.
The idea of the company is to do “Donuts, differently,” as stated on its website. The concept is about offering a product that is not your typical oval, off-the assembly line style of doughnuts with sprinkles or a blob of chocolate on top. These doughnuts are made without preservatives and artificial colors and use ingredients from local farms.
“It’s really important for me to have a community-based product.” Buckley said. “Everything is made from scratch. I have three little kids and I want to feed them something that I feel good about. Doughnuts are a treat, and I want it to be really, really good, and whole food-based.”
The nature-based way of making the doughnuts is what partly pulled Shelton in to bringing the business to Union County. After stopping off for a doughnut in Matthews, Shelton talked with Buckley and decided to open a store in Monroe. Fresh doughnuts are delivered from Matthews each morning Wednesday through Saturday.
“It’s really not a tough sale,” Shelton said. “The donuts are fresh and are good.”
Buckley is a big supporter of organic and local farming. This stemmed from her once raising animals on a 40-acre farm she rented before switching to the doughnut business four years ago. She also had her own business helping local farmers get their products into restaurants. The contacts she developed with the farmers helped establish her base for getting ingredients for the doughnuts.
“I didn’t have to go looking for the things I needed.” Buckley said. “I could just go ask my friends.”
The natural ingredients are what brought Helle Borealis to the store all the way from Jefferson, S.C. Borealis said she drives into North Carolina for shopping and used to stop at the Matthews shop. When she heard about the Monroe shop, she decided to try it out. Borealis really enjoys the natural approach to the product.
“It is sourced from farmers and it’s clean food.” Borealis said. “The farm-to-the-table approach they have is great, and we respect her for going local.”
Shelton has also noticed people coming to the store from all over.
“It’s just the doughnut,” Shelton said. “If you offer good food for a fair price, people will come and they will find you.”
The variety also is what draws in customers. People can buy a simple glazed doughnut or one dropped in powder sugar. The doughnuts can be more diverse, including a cinnamon sugar doughnut with a cream cheese buttercream icing. Some of the other flavors patrons can choose from are strawberry balsamic, vanilla cocoa honey with candied bacon and magic cookie bar, which is toasted graham cracker and chocolate.
The diversity lured Victoria Johnson and her 11-year-old daughter, Giselle, to the Monroe shop on a Saturday. After shopping for Giselle’s dance recital, Johnson decided to stop and get some doughnuts for their return trip to Matthews.
“They are different, and they are amazing flavors,” Johnson said. “They are big enough to share, so each person can have enough of each one. … We like Krispy Kreme, but it’s nice to have a gourmet option.”
Buckley is also keeping her options open when it comes to the future. There’s been some talk about opening another store in Waxhaw. She’s also interested in looking at Davidson, Fort Mill and Uptown charlotte.
“The sky is the limit I guess.” Buckley said. “I don’t know if there is a limit for these doughnuts.”
Want to go?
• Your Mom’s Donuts in Monroe opens 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. (or when they sell out) Wednesday through Saturday at 217 N. Hayne St., Monroe.
• The Matthews store operates 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday, and 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday on 11025 Monroe Road.