Career banker David Cooper knew nothing about donuts until he opened this store for his son who has Down syndrome.
Mooresville, N.C. — David Cooper and wife Lisa opened a donut shop for their son Zach in March 2020 at the height of the coronavirus pandemic.
Down For Donuts, a walk-up donut shop in Mooresville, North Carolina, employs individuals with physical and mental disabilities. Currently on the payroll he has 10 employees.
“We make great donuts and enjoy them a lot,” said Cooper.
The donut shop idea was all thanks to Cooper’s son, Zak, who has Down syndrome. Cooper asked him what kind of business he wanted to open, and Zack replied donuts.
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Cooper said he knew nothing about donuts as a career banker, but started researching and learning as much as he could.
“That was his idea,” Cooper said, looking at his son Zach. “That’s why he’s with us every day.”
Cooper says his donuts are made fresh daily. They are hand rolled, hand cut and hand frosted.
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“Nothing beats donuts freshly made every day,” exclaimed Cooper. “We use the best ingredients and love our customers.”
Due to the pandemic and problems with buildings and permits, the original opening date was pushed back from December to March, Cooper said.
“When we opened on Friday, it was March 21st, World Down Syndrome Day,” says Cooper. “It was a coincidence, but a happy coincidence.”
To adapt to the pandemic, Down for Donuts opened as a walk-up-only donut shop.
“We opened for business on Friday and went into full lockdown in the middle of the following week,” Cooper said. “So we had to adapt quickly.”
In addition to the pickup window, Cooper has tried other creative things, such as individually wrapping the donuts.
Down for Donuts in Mooresville, North Carolina
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“I think comfort food helped a lot of people through the pandemic, so it really worked,” Cooper said.
Cooper said he was excited about what the future holds and said he would be eyeing new concepts for 2023.
“We’re going to start a gluten-free line,” Cooper said. “So we’re going to introduce some really cool stuff this year.”
Down For Donuts has also partnered with Haerfest Coffee Roasting Co. for those looking for a cup of joe with a sweet treat. Cooper said he chose them because they have similar values as they also employ people with disabilities.
For the full Down For Donut menu and employee profile, click here.
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