One Hot Cookie to Launch Doughnut Spinoff

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – The mother-daughter duo who founded One Hot Cookie say they plan to open the first stand-alone store for their new doughnut-centered concept sometime in first quarter 2019.

Oh! Donuts will begin its pilot run today, operating weekends at One Hot Cookie’s Boardman store through August.

“Right now we’re testing the waters and finding our groove, using One Hot Cookie as a space,” said Morgen Reamer, president of Oh! Donuts.

In September, Oh! Donuts will open weekends in Youngstown at One Hot Cookie’s original downtown store, said Bergen Giordani, One Hot Cookie’s president and the spinoff’s vice president. They are still determining whether to alternate between the two stores or offer doughnuts at both.

“We’re actively looking at locations in both Boardman and Youngstown [for Oh! Donuts’ freestanding location]. We’ll see what works out best,” Giordani said. “There are a lot of variables.”

Doughnut shops are big business in the United States. A March report by IBISWorld put industry revenues at $16 billion, with annual growth of 3.4% between 2013 and 2018.

Giordani and her daughter started One Hot Cookie five years ago. ” We obviously love sweets” and began discussing the idea of going into doughnuts, Reamer said. Giordani said her hands were too full with the cookie operation and suggested Reamer take primary responsibility for the new operation.

The entrepreneurs tested the concept at One Hot Cookie’s Boardman store earlier this summer, promoting the sale of doughnuts solely though social media, and sold out of doughnuts two of the three weekends.

“Whenever we do anything just on social media, I’m amazed when anyone shows up,” Giordani said, noting that many people who came in for doughnuts weren’t regular customers.

Among the initial selections are S’moreo (marshmallow glaze, Oreos and graham cracker crumbs), One Hot Donut (vanilla glaze and cayenne pepper) and Cherry Pebbles (cherry doughnut with cherry glaze and Fruity Pebbles cereal), along with more traditional selections such as powdered sugar and plain glazed. The doughnuts are baked at the Boardman One Hot Cookie, which has the largest kitchen of the company’s four locations.

The business structure flips the duo’s normal dynamic, with Giordani serving as vice president to Reamer.

“It’s exciting. I’ve always had input in One Hot Cookie but she always trumped me,” Reamer said. “Now I get to trump what she says sometimes.”

“And she does,” Giordani responded.

Seeing what customers respond well to has been interesting, Reamer said. Last weekend they put out chocolate donuts and vanilla doughnuts. They prefer the latter but customers chose the former. An Elvis doughnut – with banana, peanut butter and bacon – went over well but Giordani thought it would sell better than it did.

This weekend’s offerings include Buckeye doughnuts, with chocolate frosting and Reese’s peanut butter cups, which Reamer predicted will be a “fan favorite.”

Once One Hot Cookie gets through the holiday season – a busy time for the company – the two will begin to narrow down possibilities for Oh! Donuts’ freestanding store, Reamer said. The cookie chain also is preparing to begin construction on a plaza-based store for One Hot Cookie’s shop in Wexford, Pennsylvania, which will bring the store out of the Ross Park Mall. “We’ve just got a lot of stuff going on right now,” she said.

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.