SHERIDAN — Steve Szmyd remembered buying doughnuts as a kid and seeing the joy on family members’ faces.
“There was a certain excitement behind it,” he said. “We really enjoyed fresh doughnuts, and that seems to be kind of a lost art.”
Along with his wife and co-owner Shellie Szmyd, Steve Szmyd hopes to ignite that art next month with the new Sheridan Donut Company.
The business aims to start serving customers Saturday, Feb. 16. Upon opening, it will be the only doughnut-centric offering in the area. Other doughnut options include Bonafide Foods, Ridley’s, Albertsons and Walmart.
Perhaps even rarer than serving mostly breakfast sweets, Sheridan Donut Company is locally owned and not part of a nationwide chain. The co-owners chose the straightforward name with hopes of promoting the town of Sheridan and creating a go-to local spot.
“When you have unique places on the map, it just adds to the attraction of Sheridan, versus the town that looks like the next town that looks like the next town,” Steve Szmyd said.
In addition to owning the store, the Szmyds will continue to work at their day jobs. She owns Sensational Kids, an early childhood center, and he works at the Sheridan Veteran Affairs Medical Center.
Neither of the Szmyds had similar work experience, so they hired doughnut consultants, from whom they will also buy ingredients. The consultants helped with the design and layout of the building on Coffeen Avenue and will train the approximately dozen employees in the near future.
The store will operate from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. seven days per week. To have fresh doughnuts at 6 a.m., a few employees will begin work at midnight. There will be traditional offerings and also a build-your-own doughnut station with icing, toppings and drizzle. Other food options include pigs in a blanket, pastries, panini sandwiches and soups, plus regular drinks like coffee and orange juice.
They are a bit worried about doing too many different things too soon but said the main focus at first will be the traditional, fresh doughnuts.
“It’s not as important, necessarily, to on day one, do everything,” Steve Szmyd said. “There will be a rollout and some of it’s labor-based, some of it’s just familiarity-based so people feel comfortable … You do your best to kind of predict what certain day and what the volumes are. There’ll be a lot of initial startup unknowns that will be figured out in the first 30 to 60 days.”
The co-owners want to create a place for people of varying ages to gather, so there will be tables, booths and couches, with a maximum capacity of 34 people.
“It’s kind of a comfort food that, whether you’re 2 or 102, most people say they like doughnuts,” Steve Szmyd said.
To get a better sense of what it takes to run a doughnut business, they observed different stores in Rock Springs, Laramie and Oklahoma to better understand the flow of operations.
The preparation process has taken more time and money than they expected. They had the ability to design the store to their specifications — such as moving the location of front doors and create a drive-thru window — which was nice but cost more.
Figuring out an enormity of minute details has been a challenge, so they have had many restless nights, tossing and turning about different ideas or tasks to complete.
“You tend to kind of wake up at 2 or 3 in the morning with your mind going, ‘What about this?’” Steve Szmyd said. “It’s been a little more sleepless, just because you have to — there are so many details that are floating around and you’re not sure about how you want to do something.”
It will take some time to figure out what works best, but Sheridan will soon have its own locally-owned doughnut shop.