Ames Business Adds Sweets to Boost Sales During Slow Season

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AMES, Iowa  —  Since 2011, the Orange Leaf location in Ames has been serving up frozen yogurt treats with a variety of toppings.

Owner John Shelton noticed that in winter, sales of the product were down compared to during summer, so he came up with a plan to sell mini donuts right alongside the yogurt. The new shop is called Sweet Mini’s Donut Company.

“Just decided that this mini donut concept that we developed would be a good complement to it, it will get morning sales,” said Shelton. “In the winter when it slows down, we can have donut sales pretty much year-round, as it’s not so seasonal.”

Shelton asked the corporate office for his Orange Leaf franchise if that would work.

“I’m in the office fairly often,” said Shelton, who lives near the office in Oklahoma. “I just made the proposal, let me be a guinea pig, let me co-brand this with my Orange Leaf up in Ames, and they said, ‘sure.’”

This is the first Orange Leaf location to attempt a co-branded store to sell donuts and frozen yogurt. Shelton brought in a robot to make the donuts at the rate of 150 dozen per hour. The sweet treats are made on the spot after the order is placed.

“I’ve had a traditional donut store before and it’s a lot of work, you have to be up in the middle of the night, but it’s light, fluffy, and people respond very favorably to it,” said Shelton. “We have over 20 different varieties, different toppings, so each donut has four components: the cake, the icing, the topping, and then the drizzle.”

Shelton hopes to open more mini donut locations.