By KELLY EMMRICH
Nestled in between the University of Mary Washington campus and downtown Fredericksburg, Sugar Shack Donuts is an integral part of the Fredericksburg community. Significantly, this past week Sugar Shack celebrated its first birthday after one year since opening its doors in Fredericksburg.
Instead of enticing students with a general promotion, Sugar Shack invited the new UMW president, Troy Paino, to pose for pictures with students. Every person who took a photo with Paino could then cash it in for a free donut.
This, however, is just one of the many freebie promotions that Sugar Shack has offered since its inception.
“We have promotions 363 days out of the year,” said social media and marketing manager for Sugar Shack Kerith Rae. “We try to make it as fun as possible.” Most promotions cater to UMW students, for instance there was one for Pokemon Go players and another for which you had to beatbox in order to get a free donut.
“Everybody has been warm and receptive to us,” said owner Heather Grimes. “We just want to feed people some happiness.”
In the past year Sugar Shack has supported Girl Scouts, UMW’s a cappella group One Note Stand as well as students and community members in need.
This especially came back to help them when Sugar Shack was a victim of a robbery in late August. Grimes described the losses from the robbery as “significant.” Residents of Fredericksburg reached out to the storefront via Facebook and in person. On the same day, another coffee shop favorite, Hyperion, was also hit in the robbery.
“I was so heartwarming with everyone reaching out and asking if we were okay,” Grimes said. “The outpouring of love blew our socks off.”
Every Sugar Shack location has a focus on quality and providing the community as many jobs as possible, further connecting the shop to the community.
Interestingly, many of their donut makers are local artists. They do not use machines and instead, hand roll and hand cut each donut in small batches throughout the day.
Founder and CEO Ian Kelly opened the first Sugar Shack in Richmond in 2013. Each location is locally owned and operated giving authenticity to Sugar Shack’s hometown feel.
Sugar Shack is always looking to expand new flavors and experiment with its menu. In fact, it is starting to offer a vegan donut every other weekend. In addition, Sugar Shack is hoping to bring its donut food truck to the UMW campus. Currently, however, the food truck is based in Richmond and zoning laws make it difficult to offer the food truck in Fredericksburg.
Later in September, another donut supplier is set to come to Fredericksburg. Duck Donuts, which originated in Duck, North Carolina, will open its Fredericksburg location in Eagle Village, where Hop and Wine once was.
When asked about their new competitor coming into Eagle village the owner was undisturbed. “Competition makes us all better,” Grimes said. “There’s room for two donut shops.” Needless to say, despite the recent robbery, Sugar Shack is thriving, both as a business and as a key part of the Fredericksburg community.