Favorite local donut shop continues to build on its successes; Will soon service four states with its "made fresh daily" donuts.
While there are definitely holes in some of Mary Ann Donuts’ products, there appear to be none in the Welden family’s business model.
Start with freshly made, great-tasting, quality products, sprinkle on some outstanding customer service, and success surely will follow.
That’s what Peter A. and Mary Edna Welden did when they opened the first Mary Ann Donuts store in 1947 on McKinley Ave. in Canton. They named the store after their first child.
Mary Ann’s brother and sister — Pat I and Dorothy — built on that foundation when they took a more active role in the business in 1979. They handled operations starting in 1983, when Peter retired.
Even today — as operations transition to the third generation — Pat I’s children, Amanda, Danielle and Patrick II, take the same approach their grandparents did more than 70 years ago.
Pat I’s wife, Patty, and Dorothy’s husband, Don, are also involved with the business.
Mary Ann Donuts makes as many as 30,000 donuts a day. A fleet of 18 delivery vans are on the road each day delivering to company stores and to BellStores, Speedway and Circle K stores from Canton to Pittsburgh and from Cleveland to Grand Rapids, Mich.
The company soon will distribute donuts into West Virginia and beyond thanks to a new piece of equipment — an automatic proofer — that will be operational next month and will increase production by 50 percent.
“The question is, ‘Where will we stop?’” said Pat I. “There’s little end in sight. As long as we can supply fresh donuts and people keep buying them, we’ll continue to grow.”
A next step is potentially franchising Mary Ann Donuts stores in markets outside Stark County and in other states where donuts are now distributed.
Mary Ann Donuts and its franchisees employ more than 80 people.
The company is always looking for good people to add to its workforce.
In 1983, when Peter retired, Pat I and Dorothy began expanding operations with the goal of bettering their father’s retirement. In 1984, a second store on West Tuscarawas opened.
In 1996, the production facility at 5032 Yukon Place opened. In 2011, the first franchise store opened. The company is expanding its wholesale customer base and looking to sell more franchises.
A dedication to, and a passion for, the business has driven success.
“My parents had it,” said Pat I. “And, I’m fortunate that my children also have it. Otherwise, we wouldn’t be here.”
Developing relationships is also important.
“Our donuts make people smile,” Danielle said. “And, if you treat people right, they’ll keep coming back.”
Chocolate-iced, crème-filled sticks are the best seller. Other top sellers are maple-iced, crème-filled sticks, glazed raised donuts and apple fritters.
“Over the past 10 years, our top sellers have remained the same,” said Patrick II. “Sometimes they vary in position, but all four are always right up there in sales.”
Patrick II added that of the 30,000 donuts sold on a busy day, 10,000 are crème sticks.
What makes Mary Ann Donuts’ crème sticks better?
“It’s the secret recipe for our crème,” Pat I said. “It’s been the same since 1947. We use more than 600 pounds of it every single day.”
What makes Mary Ann Donuts better than the competition?
“Our quality makes us stand out,” said Pat I. “Not everyone can say their donuts are made fresh daily with the best ingredients, especially in the distribution channel.”
Each donut from every dozen is not eaten the same day it’s purchased.
“Our ingredients help ensure quality and freshness,” Danielle said. “Our donuts stay great even the next day.”
Mary Ann Donuts supports Stark County.
The business gets very involved during Hall of Fame week. And, it supports local veterans, ICAN Housing, the Stark Hunger Task Force, St. Joan of Ark, the Salvation Army, soup kitchens, churches, and more.
Little Angels Service Dogs, an organization that’s very special to the family, also receives support. Amanda, who has epilepsy, was on a waiting list for four years for her own service dog. August, a chocolate lab, joined the family a few months ago.
No one knows what the future holds for Mary Ann Donuts.
But, by continuing family traditions, chances are very good the business outlook for the Weldens will be just as fulfilling as that first bite of a chocolate-iced, crème-filled stick.