Located on 115 East Rayen Ave. in Youngstown is a small ex-gas station and pizza shop that is now the home of the YO Doughnut Co., a new business to the area that offers doughnuts that are handmade fresh daily.
The company is operated by three long-time friends: Mitch Scott, Johnny Caceres and Royce Robinson.
Scott, the co-owner of the company, said that the YO Doughnut Co. got its start when he was laid off at his job as a museum director.
“I was a museum director for 18 years and when we lost our funding, I got laid off. Johnny has a degree in hospitality management and at the time was doing work for some big box stores. Royce worked for some big box stores as well. We started talking about starting our own business,” Scott said. “I have some friends in Sebring that had a doughnut shop and … I thought, ‘This is cool … a doughnut shop.’ I started talking to the guys about it … and here we are.”
The friends acquired the shop in early January of this year and officially opened the store on National Doughnut Day on June 6. Before the opening, Scott said that Caceres, Robinson and he spent a lot of time trying to perfect their doughnut recipe.
“We studied different shops in order to know how to make delicious doughnuts. We spent a few months perfecting our recipes before the opening so that we could offer our best work to the customers. The difference between us and Giant Eagle or certain Dunkin Donuts is that we make our doughnuts fresh,” Scott said. “A lot of the companies use flash-frozen doughnuts and just freeze and thaw them. The competition’s doughnuts have preservatives and trans fats in them, leaving you with an aftertaste. Ours are made daily, like they used to make them, and don’t give you that odd taste after.”
The type of doughnuts in the shop changes constantly. The flavors and recipes for all of the pastries have been created by Caceres. Caceres, the head baker and recipe designer at the YO Doughnut Co., said that he has been baking and devising recipes since he was a child.
“My mom was a very good cook, but when it came down to her making desserts … she was already tired from already cooking a meal,” he said. “So she just started to make desserts with me and before I realized it, I was being left alone to make the desserts. [Baking] is now just something I really enjoy.”
Robinson, the marketing and public relations manager, doubles as a doughnut decorator when he is working at the company. He claims he joined the company when he realized how economical the doughnut business was.
“I originally wanted to start a candy shop, but I realized there was more opportunity for growth in a doughnut shop than in a candy business,” Robinson said. “Now I crunch numbers and decorate the doughnuts. Decorating them is the best part of what I do.”
The YO Doughnut Co. is open Monday through Saturday from 6:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. The men at the company also offer a discount to YSU students on all of their products, which bring the doughnuts’ price from $1.09 down to 79 cents. More information is available at www.yodoughnutco.com.