BUSINESS BEAT: A good day for a doughnut

Leanna Byrd

Happy Days Donuts, the new ‘50s style eatery in town, may specialize in the freshly fried treats, but that’s only a part of the business.

Owner Leanna Byrd says that besides the food and coffee, it’s the atmosphere where her business really lies.

That atmosphere is of a time when records were spinning in the jukebox and the Fonz knew just how to get it to play.

So Byrd has taken the simplicity of that age and built a menu around it. There is a breakfast sandwich for the early morning, if you aren’t in the mood for a doughnut. There are four sandwiches on the menu, as well as hot dogs made in all sorts of styles.

“One thing that we did here was take the hot dog and do all sorts of things with it,” she said. “We have hot dogs, chili dogs, milkshakes, floats, soups, sandwiches and chili.”

Of course they also have doughnuts, which Byrd says essentially come in two varieties.

The one is the large sized doughnut, which are fried and allowed to cool, but they also feature the carnival style of doughnuts, which are made to order and served hot.

Byrd moved to Grand Forks a year ago to be closer to her parents and spent a lot of time doing market research on whether the concept would work.

Byrd is trained as an interior decorator and so had an interest in that. However after some market research the overwhelming consensus was that Grand Forks had a serious lack of doughnuts.

The shop also gave her a chance to elaborate on her interior design skills and along with the carpenter, her vision came through.

As with most openings, Byrd says there have been some bumps. For instance the main

doughnut fryer was missing some parts that make it automated.

She has also been selling out of products and even with the expanded storage she recently got, she has been having a hard time keeping up with the large demand that the doughnuts are getting.

Byrd says even if Tim Hortons opens in the city in the future, it wouldn’t worry her too much, because they’re almost different markets.

Hers is about the atmosphere, and she will be having dances in the future.

She also hopes that the shop fills a niche for the younger generation, whose options of where to go become limited at night.

Happy Days Donuts is open from 6 a.m. until 10 p.m. everyday.