Tuesday, August 4, 2020


Moab, UT

93.9 F

    A dollar for a doughnut? Yes, please!

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    Melissa Byrd ponders donut selection as John Schwager, owner of The Donut Shop on Center Street, recreates the excitement of a young customer who had recently visited his shop. Photo by Carter Pape

    Two new shops recently endowed Moab with a snack offering that was not previously available from any local, stand-alone shop: Doughnuts.

    Doughbird, a creation by the same people who own the Moab Garage Company, and The Donut Shop, an endeavor by a pair of former blue-printers, recently opened during the same week.

    Economically minded observers might question the viability of two new businesses operating within the exactly the same niche. However, John Schwager says the two shops serve different audiences.

    “I’m looking to keep the locals happy,” Schwager said to describe The Donut Shop, his hole in the wall on Center Street, which he co-owns with his business partner Karen Sidwell.

    The Donut Shop is, by any measure, among the smallest businesses in town. Doughbird’s, on the other hand, is a spinoff business owned by the same people who run the Moab Garage Company.

    The scale of the two shops reflects the difference in their prospective audiences. Doughbird’s sister business, Moab Garage Company, closes during the winter and serves Moab’s visitors during the peak seasons.

    Schwager, on the other hand, said his operation will stay open year-round. Schwager is currently the shop’s only full-time employee, and he serves one kind of food: Glazed, fried dough.

    John Schwager, the owner of the newly opened doughnut shop on Center Street, offers up some of his tasty treats. Photo by Carter Pape

    “I’m hoping the locals will keep me going through the winter,” Schwager said.

    The shop’s simplicity is one of its strongest assets; one dollar buys one donut, and the limited, perfected selection of flavors makes for a blissful snacking experience.

    After visiting Moab two years ago, Schwager left with the idea to open a donut shop, which the city didn’t have at the time. He had never run or owned a donut shop before, but when he pitched the idea to his business partner Karen Kidwell, she gave him the green light.

    Schwager hired a consultant to teach him donut-making techniques and recipes, and earlier this month, the tiny Center Street shop opened its doors. Since then, Schwager has been waking up at midnight six days a week to start making donuts.

    As Schwager told The Times-Independent, “Donuts shouldn’t be more than a dollar.” He is hoping his simple, affordable pricing model keeps customers coming back for a weekly snack to provide him a modest living.

    One thing is for certain for Schwager’s business prospects: Being only a short jaunt away from The Times-Independent and its sweet-toothed staff certainly won’t hurt his bottom line.

    Note: This story was corrected to include the name of Schwager’s business partner. It is Karen Kidwell, not Melissa Byrd.

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