2017: Michael Carmody talks about the Donut Whole
For years, whatever job Michael Carmody happened to be doing, his standard joke was that he was going to run away to open a doughnut shop.
Now, the owner of the Donut Whole wants to run away from his almost decade-old doughnut shop.
“Something needs to change,” Carmody says. “I’m tired. I’m stressed out. I’m over it.”
What’s worn him down are not the standard problems afflicting most small business owners. Carmody may have some of those, too, but his main trouble started in 2015 when a formerly close friend, Curt Mitchell, murdered Carmody’s friend and business neighbor, Tanya Tandoc.
A few months later, their mutual friend and Carmody’s business partner, Angie Mallory, died.
“I’ve just had a lot going on in my life … I haven’t been able to take any time to recover from,” Carmody says.
“And, honestly, I’m just not good at this is what it comes down to,” he says of the business. “It’s just like, I will crash this.”
Carmody says Mallory handled the financial side of the Donut Whole.
“I was the idea man. I’m good with the public. I’m good at coming up with ideas. I’m good at marketing,” says Carmody, who also makes the doughnuts.
“I’m not good at managing people. I’m not good at economics – financial stuff – at all. … I’m over my head.”
Since childhood, Carmody says, “I always had kind of a warm, fuzzy association with doughnuts in general.”
He met Mallory, who had been looking to start a business. They signed a lease at 1720 E. Douglas just east of Hydraulic with Leon Moeder and his family, who Carmody calls the fairy godmothers of landlords.
“People thought we were crazy to move in here,” Carmody says.
There was no Tanya’s Soup Kitchen, Hopping Gnome or Jimmy’s Egg nearby.
“It was a dead area,” Carmody says. “It took a while, I think, before we got on people’s radars.”
It was four years before the business became self-sustaining, but it became a popular place – kind of the it place – much faster than that.
“This place means something to people in the community in a lot of different ways,” Carmody says.
The Donut Whole has been home to Bible studies, transgender group meetings and children who get to perform in bands for the first time outside of their parents’ basements.
Carmody says for those reasons, it’s important “to make sure it … continues its legacy.”
“But also because Angie worked really hard on it the last years of her life.”
Carmody says he believes someone else could run the business better than he can. Not that it’s ever likely to be a big money-maker.
“I don’t know that any kind of business that ever operates at this level is ever profitable really,” Carmody says.
Those may not sound like the words of a man trying to sell his business, but Carmody says anyone who buys it likely will already know what this size and kind of business is about.
And if it doesn’t sell?
“I don’t know,” Carmody says. “That’s a good question.”