Cortney Roark and Brenna McDermott tried local doughnut shops Duck Donuts, Dippin Donuts, Status Dough and Pop’s.
Cortney Roark, USA TODAY NETWORK – Tennessee
Dippin’ Donuts in Halls has closed, owner Lisa DeMarisco said.
DeMarisco confirmed the shop at 6625 Maynardville Pike, Suite 105, renowned for its handmade doughnuts, shut its doors Jan. 12.
She blamed the closure on new competition in the area as well as the cost of repairing and replacing equipment in the shop.
“Unfortunately, with those costs, the increased costs of supplies, all the new (doughnut) shops that have opened and a slow-down in sales, we just couldn’t survive,” DeMarisco said. “We are very sad to have to close the business.”
DeMarisco and her husband bought the doughnut shop in August 2017 from founder Kent Tharp, who operated it on Kingston Pike near West Hills for more than 20 years before moving it to Halls in late 2016. It was originally a Dunkin’ Donuts franchise store, but Tharp and then co-owner Adeeb Sayar left the franchise when Dunkin’ Donuts began automating its stores. They wanted to continue making doughnuts by hand and formed an independent company.
By the time of the sale, Tharp, who began working for Sayar’s brother in 1986 at age 17, was the sole owner. He’d been in the doughnut business more than 30 years.
Dippin’ Donuts also sold ice cream, bagel sandwiches, apple fritters, beverages and beignets, but it was best-known for having some 50 unusual doughnut flavors, including Banana Cream, Caramel Apple, Maple Bacon, Red Velvet, Peanut Butter ‘n’ Jelly and Hello Dollies, which were topped with chocolate frosting, coconut and pecans. The business had a longstanding contract to supply local Pilot convenience stores, donated to local food pantries and other charities, and delivered to local churches, who got a discount.
On social media this week, area doughnut aficionados mourned the store’s closing. Others lobbed criticisms; the owner of the strip mall where the store was located posted that Dippin’ Donuts “left without notice,” and some employees said they were notified of the store’s closing via text message.
DeMarisco said Tuesday that she anticipates a “permanent closure,” rather than selling the business to another operator.
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