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“I would like people to think of us as an ethical business…A big part of having the business for me is being a part of the community - to give other people jobs.”
This October, Courtney Buckley will celebrate the 5th anniversary of her business, Your Mom’s Donuts. The idea was to run a (family) business…support her family and pay her employees a living wage. “I originally just wanted a family-friendly donut shop,” she said.
Back then, she was a brand new mom who delivered her donuts to people. Now, she owns three locations (Matthews, Charlotte and Monroe, NC) and is scouting around for more (looking at Davidson and South Charlotte). “I’m getting to the point where I’d like to grow this to a much larger brand, regionally,” she said. Courtney employees four full-time and three part-time employees. “I’m always looking for an opportunity (for another shop),” she said. Her Matthews kitchen, at her flagship store, is used to bake donuts for the other locations. Nearly 2,100 donuts were made on a recent Saturday, alone.
Her donuts remain square, not round; her flavors are all natural and are sometimes found right at the Farmer’s Market: carrot-thyme; strawberry fennel jam; snow pea glaze with yogurt drizzle; sliced beets; cucumber-mint; and basil when it’s available. “I didn’t want anything here that I wouldn’t find in my own kitchen,” she said. Her one caveat? The recent addition of sprinkles on her donuts. Everyone wanted sprinkles, she said, which she “fought and fought and fought,” but recently agreed to add them on top.
Nothing is premade; everything possible is found locally; and she supports local businesses, too (Pure Intentions Coffee, for example).
While donuts are her main staple, any leftovers at the end of the day are turned into donut bread pudding at night – a fan favorite.
It is not lost on Courtney that she remains one of the few women entrepreneurs in the Charlotte food-service industry. “I’m constantly trying to find other women as mentors,” she said. “Most of the mentors I go to are men.” She added that she sometimes encounters sexism in the workplace to which she responds by “put(ting) my head down and just go. It’s like white noise. We get used to it as women,” she said.
It is her wish that she can serve as a mentor to younger women entering the food service industry, and as a role model to her children. “I think I’m an entrepreneur first; I think that’s what makes me the mother I am. I WANT my girls to see their mom do something,” she said.
She would also like to continue giving back to her employees and the community at large. “I would like people to think of us as an ethical business, a business which not only treats their employees fairly but puts out a good product without thinking about the bottom dollar,” said Courtney. “A big part of having the business for me is being a part of the community - to give other people jobs.”
“There are people that I delivered to their doors (and) they had two kids, now they have four. I have watched their families grow, and I LOVE that. It’s an amazing thing to feel part of something so much bigger,” she said.
Ultimately, it’s the joy – of baking, being a mom and an entrepreneur, supporting her family, living within a tight-knit community, giving back whenever possible, and satisfying her customers which drives Courtney on. “Donuts make people happy,” she said. “Nobody walks into a donut shop in a bad mood.”