Saturday, June 6, 2020     Volume: 21, Issue: 14

Santa Maria Sun / News

The following article was posted on January 7th, 2020, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 20, Issue 45 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [] - Volume 20, Issue 45

Orcutt doughnut shop feels the Krispy Kreme effect

By William D'Urso

In the meandering hours of the late afternoon, Houth Hak served doughnuts with metal tongs and chatted with her Golden Donut regulars.

As a recently opened national doughnut shop in Santa Maria seizes doughnut business, loyal customers rally around Golden Donut in Orcutt.

The quiet followed the usual morning bustle and the recent crush of longtimers and newcomers—a show of support for the Orcutt staple in response to a plea of sorts from Hak’s daughter, Nicky, via a Twitter post on Dec. 29, 2019. Nicky had posted an image of her mom, saying Krispy Kreme, which opened a Santa Maria shop on Dec. 10, had taken the air out of her mom and dad’s business.

“I don’t know what Facebook means, I don’t know what Twitter means,” Hak says with a smile. “I don’t even know how to turn on a computer.”

Her welcoming demeanor is a hint at what turns Golden Donut’s customers into regulars and what makes Hak’s shop different from the doughnut giant. She admits that her business has slowed recently but won’t name the competitor. But a string of news reports and her clientele are doing that for her.

In the quieter hours of her day, Hak preps as her loyal customers still there, drinking fully caffeinated coffee in one of the shop’s many mismatched mugs. Bob Piers, a customer for some 30 years, is making his second visit of the day for a caffeine refill.

“It’s like Cheers,” he said. “The hometown atmosphere. You got to have the hometown atmosphere.”

The 73-year-old was here on Friday, Jan. 3, when the shop ran out of doughnuts and had to resupply.

Piers talks of the common struggle between mom-and-pop stores and global corporations. This area has several such chains with more on its way. But the patrons here are determined that Golden Donut, their store, will be different, Piers says.

The chatter between customers and Hak is quick, with staccato-like exchanges—one speaking as soon as the other finishes. 

“Guess where I went,” one patron says as he stops in—pausing for effect. “Krispy Kreme.”

“No!” Hak replies.

“They were the worst damn doughnuts I’ve ever had,” the patron responds.

Piers pipes up: “I had a Krispy Kreme doughnut once. It was nothing but air.” 

—William D’Urso

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