Pendleton resident Nate Haugh customized his plans to open Ohana Donuts and Ice Cream in Fishers by combining something familiar with something he loves to make.
Ohana Donuts and Ice Cream is set to open at 11640 Brooks School Road in mid-January. Haugh signed a lease on the 1,600-square-foot store in October after more than 20 years working in the food-service industry.
“For the past 15 years, at least, I’ve been just trying to figure out what I can open by myself,” Haugh said.
Though he’d gotten his start managing the Donatos Pizza at 96th Street and Lantern Road, Haugh had studied hospitality management at Purdue and wanted to use those skills to branch out.
He considered his own Donatos franchise, but the rent and build-out costs associated with a required footprint that’s twice the size of his current space were just too much. He was interested in opening a Chik-Fil-A franchise because the concept is so popular, but there were too many hoops to jump through.
“It’s almost like winning the lottery to be able to open a Chik-Fil-A,” Haugh said.
Instead, Haugh decided to modify an existing concept to open Ohana Donuts and Ice Cream. Haugh said he “kinda stole” the idea for Ohana’s customizable doughnut from Quack Daddy Donuts in Pendleton, who in turn stole the idea from the Pennsylvania-based franchise, Duck Donuts.
The shop’s customizable doughnut will start with a vanilla cake batter base, or a seasonal variant like pumpkin. Haugh said customers will be able to top their doughnut with one of seven icings before choosing from a plethora of toppings like peanuts, Fruity Pebbles or chocolate chips.
Other doughnut offerings will include pre-made doughnut holes and mini-doughnuts.
At $1.55 per doughnut, and $16 for a dozen, Haugh said the experience and customization puts Ohana at a more expensive price point than Jack’s Donuts.
Had he chosen to go the direct route and become a franchisee with Duck Donuts, Haugh would’ve had to pay an initial $30,000 franchise fee, plus a lot more. According to the franchise’s website, the estimated cost of opening a Duck Donuts is between $348,350 and $568,000, and franchisees must have at least $150,000 in liquid funds and a minimum net worth of $500,000.
Without a required equipment package or royalty costs, Haugh said he thinks he can make a go of his own concept by purchasing used equipment and using his food service experience to cut costs.
“When you’re somebody who has never worked in the industry, you’ll probably fumble around and waste money. This is probably one of the lowest-cost things I could do, and I just love sweets,” Haugh said.
Haugh said he’s already got two managers, and he plans to scale-up his workforce from 10 employees to 15 as the store gains traction.
“I’d like to—within 6 months of opening—at least be looking for a second location,” Haugh said.
Despite the Hawaiian theme (“ohana” means “family” in Hawaiian) and the January opening date, Haugh is confident his warm doughnuts and hot coffee will bring people in from Brooks School Park next door. If that doesn’t work, Haugh said he’s confident the 21 flavors of ice cream provided by Anderson-based Good’s Candy Shop will do the trick.
“It doesn’t matter if it’s snowing, there’s always 20 people in (Good’s) eating ice cream,” he said.