Donut Sam’s aims to provide Menomonie with more than delicious donuts. Owners Mike and Tanya Husby had the idea of opening a donut shop in Menomonie as a way to employ individuals with special needs like their son Sam, who has Down Syndrome.
“We wanted to work with people who have special needs in hopes of helping them find employment in our community,” Tanya said. “We hope to collaborate with the high school and have an internship at some point.”
Donut Sam’s opened on March 23, 2020, which happened to be the same day many businesses were ordered to close due to the pandemic. A number of local businesses reached out to the Husbys about carrying Donut Sam’s in their stores.The donuts proved to be very popular, and regularly sold out within an hour or two.
“We found a silver lining so we could open our doors again,” Tanya said. Today Donut Sam’s can be found in many Bob & Steve’s Shops in the area, as well as at Cut Rite Meat Shop in North Menomonie and Woodman’s in Altoona.
Donut Sam’s offers 20 donut combinations, along with a number of gluten free options. Favorites include The Pudge: a vanilla frosted donut topped by Fruity Pebbles cereal, and The Vermonter: a maple glazed donut with gold sprinkles. Donut Sam’s gets creative and carries specialty flavors every week as well.
The Husbys have found their gluten free donuts to be especially popular with people driving miles to get them. At some point, they hope to expand their menu in the future to include grab and go breakfast items, including sandwiches.
In addition to supporting those with special needs locally, the Husbys are passionate about supporting businesses that do the same. Their coffee supplier, Jumpy Monkey Roaster, employs individuals with special needs - not just to roast the coffee, but package and market it as well.
In Donut Sam’s Tchotchke Shop you will find dog treats, tote bags and greeting cards for sale, all made by entrepreneurs from the special needs community.
The Husbys are thankful for the support they’ve received from the community. “For me, the whole thing has been about the journey and the relationships, the people we’ve met along the way” added Mike. “It’s been a great adventure.”