For Father’s Day last year, Clint Hiles’ family asked him what he wanted to do and where he wanted to go.
“Lucky’s Doughnuts,” the Coquitlam man quickly responded.
But on their way back from the Mount Pleasant shop in Vancouver, a light bulb went off: What if they could also make gourmet doughnuts — just like Lucky’s, Honey and Cartems — and sell premium coffee in their hometown?
A year later, Hiles and his wife, Kat, have seen their dream come true.
On June 16, after months of research — and poring over books to learn how to bake the treats — the pair opened Doughnut Love, a brand they hope to expand into Port Coquitlam and Port Moody.
Right from Day 1, the response to their new business has been “phenomenal,” Clint Hiles told Tri-City News this week, noting that customers are waiting outside their Como Lake Avenue shop at 6 a.m. and even lining down the street, until the goods are sold out.
Typically, that’s mid-morning, said Kat Hiles, a Port Moody secondary graduate.
And there’s a good reason for that: their menu is divine.
Their six signature doughnuts are:
- Apple fritter (caramelized apples and cinnamon brioche dough fitters)
- Homer (classic yeast ring dipped in a strawberry glaze and covered in sprinkles)
- Vanilla glazed (soft yeast dough ring)
- Lemon poppyseed old fashioned (dipped in a tart lemon glaze)
- Chocolate chip cookie dough old fashioned (with edible malted milk chocolate chip cookie dough)
- Chocolate dip (yeast ring dipped in a Callebaut chocolate ganache)
And there’s another six in a rotating batch each month plus gluten- and vegan-friendly options. As well, they plan to have seasonal offerings, e.g., cherry-topped doughnuts in July, peaches in August and apples in September.
Their customers? “We get a lot of kids,” Clint Hiles said. “A lot of families. But we also get running and cycling clubs that stop by for a sugar boost and caffeine. It’s really everybody who loves a good doughnut.”
As well, as part of their Community Love Doughnut Initiative, the couple is giving $1 from a chosen doughnut to their charity-of-the-month; for June and July, proceeds from the lemon poppyseed old fashioned will be donated to Share Family and Community Services.
Clint Hiles said their focus is local, local, local.
Their fresh ingredients are from Metro Vancouver and Fraser Valley producers and suppliers, including berries from Krause Farms, while their dairy is from Meadowfresh in Port Coquitlam, their coffee is from the Fort Langley-based roasters Republica and their tea is from Loosely Tea, a Tri-City business.
And, for readers who remember the Stardust roller rink, the hardwood floors in Doughnut Love are sourced from the structural beams in the Surrey venue, via Western Reclaimed Timber in Maple Ridge.
Clint Hiles, a former investment advisor who hails from Kelowna, said he and Kat wanted to base their business in the Tri-Cities, where their 10-year-old daughter also goes to school. “We didn’t consider any place else,” he said.
“We wanted to invest in our community,” added Kat Hiles, a former sales rep whose parents, Ted and Trina Botsis, owned Dino’s Restaurant in Port Moody for more than 20 years as well as the Dino’s in Maple Ridge and Stasias in Mission.
FIRST WEEK OPENING
Still, it’s been a lot of work to get Doughnut Love up.
As of Tuesday, their storefront sign had yet to be posted (their business is located west of the Chevron gas station, at Como Lake Avenue and Poirier Street) and the patio tables and chairs were still at home waiting to be unpacked, Kat Hiles said.
They’ve also had to adjust their regular routines.
On opening day, Clint Hiles started baking at 4 a.m. “and it wasn’t early enough,” he said. “Now, I’m in the kitchen at 1 a.m., and we’re still selling out. We are doing everything we can to meet demand.”
So far, they have five other staff members to help in the back and front, working Monday to Friday from 6 a.m., and on the weekends starting at 7 a.m., until 3 p.m. (or sell out).
Clint Hiles said they’ll likely close on Mondays to catch up with administration, prep the food and get the pre-orders ready.
“It’s a labour of love,” he said. “We had a vision and we wanted to show our daughter that, if you have a dream, you chase it. We want to be good role models for her.”