“I’m passionate about it. Donuts are cheap thrills,” said a likeable Leigh Kellis, this afternoon as she discussed the remarkable growth of her 7 month old business during 2011. The growth has been so fast that Leigh has just leased the former Terroni’s Market at 194 Park Avenue from where she will retail/wholesale 12 varieties of her Holy Donuts. She plans to have the new location up and running within several months.
Leigh acknowledged that the idea for donuts made from Maine potatoes was not her own. But she did pursue the idea searching cookbooks for recipes for donuts that used Maine potatoes. She found one and then began to build on that receipe coming up with a dark chocolate and sweet potato donut. Soon to make its debut is a bacon and potatoes come from the Green Thumb Farm, Fryeburg. Eventually Leigh wants to bake and market 12 varities of donuts at her store.
Entrepreneurial blood runs thick in Leigh, a single mom. Her parents ran a popular photography business in Portland – CynthiaAllan – her parents first names. When the two learned of their daughters business venture, they jumped on board and “are the most supportive parents on earth,” according to Leigh. Her father, 62, who delivers her donuts to her 16 Portland customers and 1 in Scarborough, is nicknamed the donut donkey. Leigh’s first customer was Coffee by Design to whom she sold 1 dozen donuts a week. Now, she is selling 130 dozen a week to customers. Her biggest customer is Whole Foods. “People really like these donuts because they are different,” said Dick Collucci’s Market on North Street who buys two dozen donuts every mornng. “This is a good way to promote Maine products,” he added. Furthermore, they do not hurt the sale of their homemade muffins and other products.
Eventually, Leigh will have to hire additional help with her growing business. She also knows she will have to start delegating more responsible, something she has not needed to do so far. “I am totally realizing a long time dream of mine. That is to be my own boss and own an old-fashioned donut shop. I want to market to all of Portland and not just serve a specific neighborhood.”