Mike and Susan Davis, co-owners of Daylight Donuts franchises in Moberly and Macon, were tired of working for other people.
Mike was a carpenter who was growing tired of working outside in subfreezing north Missouri temperatures. Susan had experience in the restaurant industry. Both had previous ownership experience with Daylight Donut stores, and Mike, a former Marine, was confident he could build a store in Moberly largely by himself.
That was in the waning days of 2007 and first few months of 2008.
For various reasons, not the least of which was the recession and consumers cutting back on delicacies such as doughnuts, the Davises had to postpone their dream of working for themselves.
"I remember them from the very beginning wanting to start a doughnut shop in Moberly," says Chris Shoemaker, business development specialist with the MU Extension Macon County SBTDC. Moberly is home to three colleges and their ever-hungry students. "I have to admit that I was very unsure of the project. I thought Mike and Susan would have to sell a lot of doughnuts to make this work."
So he and the Davises started gathering substantive information to create a highly detailed business plan for what turned out to be a successful loan application. Shoemaker then compiled data on the area's competition and met with the Davises to discuss everything from location to the costs of flour, coffee, soda and all the other items hungry customers expect from a doughnut shop.
After looking at the numbers, Shoemaker and the Davises realized that a doughnut shop could work. Mike Davis rolled up his sleeves and started building, and Daylight Donuts in Moberly opened in June 2010.
Shoemaker's analyses were spot-on. The shop did such good business (with reviews such as "Best cinnamon rolls — ever!") the Davises sometimes could not keep up with demand.
In early 2012, Mike Davis called Shoemaker to see what the business counselor thought about opening a new store in Macon. Shoemaker said it could work with the right location and referred him to several property owners in the area.
Within days, the Davises found a site on a major route just south of town. Better yet, the landlord offered six free months of rent followed by low monthly payments for three full years. The couple saved even more cash because Mike Davis performed most of the remodeling by himself.
This store, too, did such good business that the couple called Shoemaker again in the early summer of 2012 to start a third business in Centralia. Shoemaker encouraged them to slow down and ensure that the Macon store was on its feet before opening another location.
The Davises have heeded this advice — at least for the time being.
The stores have changed more than the Davises' lives. In two years, the two stores have added seven new jobs, infusing more than $100,000 per year into the economies of Macon and Moberly. And in October 2012, the Davises began exploring selling their doughnuts wholesale in Columbia convenience and other stores. Within a few months, they were selling in seven locations. This wholesale business will likely add further jobs, directly or indirectly, to the economies of Macon and Moberly and significantly boost an already sweet bottom line.
The Davises feel a large portion of their success goes to Shoemaker.
"Chris had a significant impact on getting us started," writes Mike Davis. "He helped us through the major process of getting our package ready for the lender. We continue to use Chris when we have questions or wish to just talk to someone we can trust to always be open with us."
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This story was featured in the Jan. 2013 newsletter.
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