Doughnuts and the Salvation Army

The Doughnut Shop

            With the popularity of the doughnut springing to life following World War I, where was the popularity to go? If you were Adolph Levitt, you were going to design the first doughnut machine, but you were also going to open the first doughnut shop.

            In the early 1920s, Levitt taking notice of the popularity of the doughnut decided to open a doughnut shop. This shop became known as the Mayflower Doughnut Shop and was located in Times Square, New York City. This shop became the first link in the country’s pioneer doughnut chain, and subsequently became known as the Doughnut Corporation of America. This shop also featured the first leading coffee in America as well, Maxwell House Coffee.

            Following in Levitt’s footsteps and buying products from him, most doughnuts shops of the 1920s were small and owned by families. With the crash and depression of the late 1920s to early 1930s, most doughnut shops disappeared. However, following World War II, doughnuts shops began to have a boon again.

           Prior to the boon, in 1933, a young entrepreneur, Vernon Rudolph, opened a shop in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. This shop was famous for a creamy doughnut made of potatoes, sugar, and milk that was lightly fired to a golden brown. The aroma of these doughnuts being made, caused some passersby to stop in and purchase them. Rudolph seeing the effect, punched a hole in his shop and opened the first Krispy Kreme Doughnut shop. Rudolph also explored his own invention side when he made the Ring King in the 1960s to help bolster the production of yeast rising doughnuts, as the Levitt’s was more for cake doughnuts.
          Following World War II, more and more business minded people were finding the Doughnut shop appealing. An example were the Pelton brothers’ who established the Spudnuts doughnut shops in 1940 and by 1948 had over 200 shops nationwide. Al and Bob Pelton set out to create a lighter doughnut and developed a mashed potato flour doughnut. This, like Krispy Kreme, set them apart from other doughnut chains.
           In 1948, William Rosenberg opened Open Kettle, a restaurant selling donuts and coffee in Quincy, Massachusetts. Taking ideas from Levitt and his Mayflower store, Rosenberg added coffee, milk and other drinks to the menu and added seating in his store as well. The problem he faced, was he did not like the name of his store. The name Open Kettle was to pay homage to the New England area in which the store was located, but Rosenberg wanted to expand and believed the name would not fit outside of the area. He summoned his workers together one day in 1950 and had a session on renaming the store. One of the employees asked, “What do you do with a doughnut? You pick a chicken, you pluck a chicken, you dunk a donut…” And with that, Rosenberg exclaimed, “That’s it” and the store was named Dunkin’ Donuts.

            Around the same time as Dunkin’ Donuts coming to life, another company was too; the Big Donut Drive-In. The Big Donut Drive-In was created by California business man, Russell C. Wendell. However, the Big Donut Drive-In did not remain a steadfast name and was sold to different owners in the 1970s. The most famous of these remaining doughnut stands is Randy’s Donuts. Randy’s still uses the same look as the original and continues to serve the same style of doughnuts to this day.
         There have been other doughnuts shops that have sprung up, but these are the ones that have stood the test of time.

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