WHAT DO sushi and donuts have in common? The common link is Duk Parks, the new owner of I Love Donuts in Shelbyville. Originally opened in the late 1990s, Duk’s cousin, Jay Parks, owned and operated I Love Donuts from 2007 until he was ready to retire from the six-day-per- week, physically demanding schedule of making donuts and having them ready at 5 a.m. When the doors closed, there was an outpouring of requests to please reopen the business. Even with other chain pastry shops in the area, loyal customers wanted the business and the high-quality pastries to still be available. Jay searched for the right person to take over the store and he found that special person in his cousin, Duk, a sushi chef.
Knowing the committed customers would want their favorite treats and breakfast pastries to maintain his standard of excellence, it was a labor of love for Jay to find the right person to take over. Additionally, Jay preferred to keep it in the family, as he had taken over the business from his mother-in-law. Duk, with his previous experience making sushi, was familiar with many aspects of working in a professional kitchen; however, taking over a business in the midst of COVID-19 has brought special difficulties.
In addition to the usual challenges of owning and operating a business, there have been issues of the availabilityofsuppliesand shipments being delayed. Duk believes the reward of seeing the smiles on his customer’s faces and their appreciation of him continuing the tradition of “Made in Shelbyville” donuts, makes it all worth it. Duk credits the support of long-time I Love Donuts employee, Gail Wells, and relatively new employee, Tehya Congdon, with their assistance in making the business a success with great customer service and helping him carry on their special traditions.
Under Jay’s watchful eye, Duk learned all of the secrets of making excellent sweet and savory donuts. Yes, savory donuts. One of the unique features of I Love Donuts is experiencing a donut made with the same dough as a regular donut, morphed into a type of breakfast sandwich with such flavors as ham and cheese, mozzarella pepperoni, or pork sausage with cheese. Hesitant first-time customers are won over with their first bite of the winning combination of flavors and the amazing texture of their special pastry dough.
Duk appreciates the welcoming feeling he has received from the people of Shelbyville. He encourages the people of Bedford County to continue shopping, eating, and leaving good reviews in all of their favorite small businesses.
Try them for yourself. Go to I Love Donuts and buy a dozen freshly made donuts to share with your family or coworkers. Fresh-made donuts—made from scratch and made with love. -GN