The Donut Wars: Battle of Fredericksburg
By KELLY EMMRICH
Duck Donuts opened up shop last Monday, with a post on their Facebook page early Monday morning announcing the surprise opening. Since, Duck Donuts has been packed with lines extending to the door. Throughout the week many students have been comparing the two donut shops at either ends of campus: Sugar Shack and Duck Donuts.
My life changed in high school when my hometown got a Duck Donuts shop, and I tasted a warm vanilla donut topped with vanilla ice cream, hot fudge and sprinkles for the first time. I have been an avid Duck Donuts fan ever since. When I heard that Duck Donuts was coming to Fredericksburg, needless to say I was ecstatic.
Some UMW students didn’t share my enthusiasm however. Ariana Garcia DuBar, a junior art history major, recalls her first time going into a Duck Donuts as a tragedy. “The first time I went into a Duck Donuts, I was confused and disappointed,” DuBar said. “I was like, this isn’t a donut. It’s less tasty cake.”
What is your favorite donut location in Fredericksburg? #FXBGdonuts
— Blue & Gray Press (@theBlueandGray) January 30, 2017
Duck Donuts and Sugar Shack use different recipes to make their dough. Instead of fried bread, Duck Donuts uses a cake donut, which is denser and sweeter than the fried bread.
The news of Duck Donuts’ opening came towards the end of the 2016 spring semester and since, has put local competitors on notice. Owner of Sugar Shack, Heather Grimes, commented on Duck’s arrival in September and was warm to the idea of local competition.
“Competition makes us all better,” Grimes said. “There’s room for two donut shops.” When asked if DuBar would ever try out Duck Donuts she replied “No. I think I’ll stick to Sugar Shack.”
A lot of students disagreed with DuBar’s opinion. Abigail Whittington, a junior English major said that she enjoyed the flavor and the density of the cake donut. She also liked that there was a physical menu and that the customer had the freedom to create their own donut.
“In Sugar Shack, you hope that they have a donut that you like,” Whittington said. “In Duck Donuts you can make your own, so you know that you’ll be getting something that you’ll like.”
UMW Journalism Practicum class tastes tests Sugar Shack vs. Duck Donuts:
Another topic of discussion when comparing the two was size. Sugar Shack’s donuts are noticeably larger than Duck Donuts, however Duck fans don’t seem to be phased by the size difference, and argue that the quality outweighs quantity.
Walking into Duck Donuts is a different experience than walking into Sugar Shack. Sugar Shack has dark wash walls, dim lighting and string lights everywhere. Duck Donuts has pastel blue walls white countertops, and bright fluorescent lighting. Whittington also commented on the aesthetic of Duck Donuts compared to Sugar Shack.
“I like that Duck Donuts has indoor seating, but Sugar Shack feels more homey.” Ryan Shipe, a junior English major, agreed with Whittington.
“I don’t know if it’s just because Duck Donuts is new, but it feels empty,” said Shipe. “The fluorescent light is off putting.”
Sugar Shack has become an integral part of the Fredericksburg community for the past year. Only time will tell if Duck Donuts has the community support.