The owner of the locally owned Baker’s Donuts, already surrounded by Krispy Kreme and soon-to-be Dunkin’ Donuts, says she’s confident it will stay on top.
Sacramento, CA – A donut shop in South Sacramento was launched long after learning that Dunkin’ Donuts was moving across the street.
Owners of Baker Donuts learned about the opening from a local news report. Dunkin’ is expected to open later this year.
This isn’t the first time Suzie Hem and Baker Donuts have faced a string competition. Krispy Kreme showed up next door eight years ago.
Over the course of 38 years, Hem has weathered every storm to keep her American dream alive. Emigrating from Cambodia after high school, she opened Baker Donuts at Florin Road at just 19 years old.
“It’s for my livelihood,” said Hem, “all my life, I’ve been here since I finished high school, I’ve come straight (to) that donut shop I don’t know, I have no experience.” . “Come to work seven days a week, every day.”
Regulars say the Donut Baker has grown into a Sacramento staple.
“The real people of Sacramento, they know this spot, it’s been here,” said Christopher Dorley, a regular customer.
Even in 2000 during the market crash, Hem, a single mother of two, faced the toughest storm of her career when sales plummeted and she had to sleep in her car with her kids for two years in order to keep the business open.
“When I came to work at five, I had to bring them,” Hem said. “They slept in the car, then when they went to school I had to take them to school, and when I got out, I brought them back here, they do their homework here until 9 pm.”
And when Krispy Kreme moved in next door eight years ago, she said sales really got a good bump.
“We know we’re tough, make good donuts, and loyal customers will come back to us because we’re a small business and they are a business and make donuts by machine. We make by hand,” Hem said.
But a dark cloud still hovered over her business, Sacramento County confirmed with ABC10’s plans for Dunkin’ Donuts to move across the street next to the AMPM gas station. Although the county says it has not yet applied for a commercial license, it is in the process of doing so.
“I was shocked,” Hem said when she heard the news. I said, ‘Oh my God, I didn’t know! Why did they do that? It’s so close! I have a Krispy Kreme already, why come Dunkin Donuts right across the street. “
And while she says its unique homemade cakes, topped with things like bacon or cookie butter, is what sets her business apart from corporate chains, her clients say, it’s the people.
“The owners, the way they treat you, you’re not just a customer, they know faces,” said Dorley. “They have a proven track record that, no matter who you stand against, they are not going anywhere.”
Which is why Hem says this impending pink and orange storm is a storm worth weathering.
“I know I will,” Hem said. “They’ll be there but they’re not as busy as us, I guess.”
She says she believes her son’s social media marketing is also one of the things that will keep people coming back, not to mention the loyalty of her longtime loyal customers.
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