Ignite Donuts began in a college Residence Hall. Founder and CEO, Casey Croad, and the help of some close friends began brainstorming concepts for a donut business. In the coming months the business idea evolved and "Donut Friday's" were coined.
Ignite Donuts, LLC was formed, and with the help of local partners such as Central Michigan University Research Corporation, connections were made. Through these connections, we established a relationship with the owner of the Kaya Coffee shop. We began producing and selling donuts weekly, which helped gain credibility and traction.
NEW VENTURE COMPETITION
Owners Casey, Alec and Jake competed in the New Venture Competition outlining the vision of a brick and mortar business selling donuts and alcohol at college campuses. After learning about the unattractive start, it was back to the drawing boards. Investor John Kulhavi helped the startup with an initial $10,000, which was used over the next year for equipment, research, development and fees.
After a summer of redeveloping the recipe that catered to the customer's needs, the three owners took the donuts to the streets. They began selling on September 13th, 2018 in downtown Mount Pleasant. The first night of selling was a huge success, selling over $400 worth in less than a few hours. Unfortunately, the high revenue did not continue throughout the Fall, and the business
had to pivot.
A NEW PRODUCT
2019 welcomed a new line of products, but most famously, the Donut Kit. It is made up of six warm donut holes, with a 2oz container of glaze in the center for dipping and glazing. The idea rooted from the love of bringing people together, and in connection with the name, a mimic of a campfire with friends.
Previous co-owner Chris Eakin joined Casey and John as the pivoted business began a busy year.
The business again competed in the New Venture Competition. This time winning two awards, Middle Michigan Development Corporation (start up money and an office) and the Episalon Nu Tau Student Gallery award. These awards and connections helped the business work towards getting a contract to become a wholesaler at Central Michigan University.
Ignite Donuts, LLC began officially selling on CMU's campus on August 23rd, 2019. With the help of CMU staff, the business was able to produce in a legal commercial kitchen on campus. Donut Kits were sold at The Market over in East Campus, home football games, and a variety of other events. The company really began building traction and fans! President Davies is seen here enthusiastic about the student venture.
A NEW TEAM
Ignite Donuts, LLC is a student run student venture. At the start of 2020, the business chose to hire student managers to teach students of potential career paths and to grow Ignite Donuts to where it is today.
After a year of uncertainty with COVID, Ignite Donuts opened up their first café in Mount Pleasant. The café features unique concepts like a freshly fried donut bar, customizable milkshakes, specialty coffees, and a variety of grilled cheeses. Each item comes with either a non-dairy or vegan alternative. The objective is to love on people through each product and service they offer.