Open since: March 31
Owners: Karissa Norfleet and Joey Tuttle
Location: 3550 W. Lawrenceville St. in Duluth
Hours: Sunday, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.; closed Monday, Tuesday through Thursday, 6:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Friday, 6:30 a.m. to 9 a.m.; Saturday 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Atmosphere: With a seating area filled with natural light and high ceilings, it may be difficult to imagine a local doughnut shop in Duluth being birthed from a food truck. But that’s the case for Simply Done Donuts, which finds its latest iteration in the heart of downtown.
Owner Karissa Norfleet entered the doughnut industry after she had worked with AT&T for nine years and looked for something different. So she bought a doughnut machine, which “cost a fortune” so she knew she was invested in the new beginning. She talked it over with her husband and mother, and after weighing the costs of a brick and mortar location, the took the next step with a food truck. That was two years ago.
“That really gave us the ability to travel around, test out markets, test our product out and price points and from there, it just kind of grew, and all right, it’s time,” Norfleet said.
On the food truck, there are 12 flavors, but the store location has nearly 30 flavors on the small doughnuts.
Simply Done also offers a gourmet coffee line, which comes from a Statesboro roaster who is a Duluth native.
“I really wanted us to be that coffee spot for Duluth,” Norfleet said.
The store also offers doughnut sundaes and milkshakes. The milkshake is a plain flavor with a doughnut on top.
When she noticed other doughnut shops expanding quickly, Norfleet said she began to feel late to the game even though she started before them.
“They were already working on second and third brick and mortars,” she said. “I just wanted to get into the market with brick and mortars before it was too late.”
While many of those competitors focused on locations in and closer to Atlanta, Norfleet said she found a niche in the suburbs.
“They want good food out here as well,” she said.
In the nearly two years she spent traveling around the Atlanta area, Norfleet said she enjoyed the Duluth area largely because of the events in the city.
“It just so happened that this development popped up right when I was looking,” she said. “I like the community that they’re really trying to go for, and build. It just felt like a natural fit.”
The original idea came five years ago after a move from Dallas, Texas and she didn’t notice any non-chain doughnut stores in the area, especially compared to the number of stores in Dallas.
Setting her doughnuts apart from competitors, Norfleet said Simply Done Donuts are made fresh to order, so there aren’t display cases in the store.
“There’s nothing better than a hot doughnut,” she said. “Overall, the reaction’s been great. We’ve showed them the doughnuts, we’ve opened the box, and they’re like, ‘Oh, these are so cute, they’re so pretty.”
Menu: Apple pie and strawberry cheesecake are the top sellers. Customers picking up doughnuts for the office often buy a 24-count of doughnuts. Norfleet said customers often tell her that the coffee is not as “burnt” as coffee from chain competitors. “The quality is better,” she said. “They like local. I’m finding that more and more people really appreciate supporting other local businesses.” Cold brew coffees are expected to be popular this summer, she said. A short-term goal is to introduce breakfast sandwiches.
Something you might not know: Norfleet met her coffee roaster vendor at a farmers market in Statesboro while she was there visiting a friend. She said the roaster supports three missions, such as taking care of farmers in Mexico and Ecuador, fighting human trafficking, and a percentage of each coffee bag is put back toward that effort. The third mission is engaging the community through events to support other local businesses.