Florida woman opens Black-owned business amid pandemic
Donuts Galore and More serves fresh treats to the community
For months, coronavirus has caused a big shift in everyone’s life. It has changed the way people shop, travel and for many it has changed the way people work. Millions of people have lost their jobs, some work remotely, while others continue to go to work.
But through the pandemic, new business owner Marie Rudd was able to find a way to open her donut company, Donuts Galore and More. In an exclusive interview with theGrio, Rudd talks about the process of opening her business during pandemic.
Rudd’s love for donuts began at a young age when her grandma would make them for her. She loved them so much that at the age of 17, she learned how to make them herself. Although she did like to bake, she decided to pursue a different route after graduating high school.
“After high school, I decided to go into cosmetology. As I got into my late 30’s that is when I really got into baking a lot,” she said. “I would bake for a lot of different restaurants, and it was an opportunity for me to make more donuts.”
After years of baking, Rudd began to think about owning her own business.
“I wanted to open a donut shop because I love donuts, for starters. The idea came to me about four years ago. But two years ago, I had a donut shop over in Volusia County and decided to move to Seminole County because the location was much better for me,” she shared.
Opening a new business has it’s challenges but doing it in the middle of a pandemic caused Rudd to have more delays in her plans.
“COVID-19 has affected all of us small businesses, especially when it comes to small business loans,” she explained. “It delayed us from moving into the building, even though we had already signed our lease.”
According to Megan Cook, an employee at Donuts Galore and More, there is another setback that coronavirus created.
“The only thing is it’s just been a little slow. It’s just slower than what we would like it to be, so that we can produce the amount of stuff that we have talked about,” Cook said. “We have a lot of ideas; we just haven’t been able to execute them yet due to the fact that it has been so slow.”
But Rudd took on every challenge and was able to successfully open her business. She has also made the proper adjustments to make sure to keep her employees and customers safe during the pandemic.
“I ask all of my employees, as well as our guests, to wear a mask. We also implement customers standing 6 feet apart and we have hand sanitizer throughout our building,” Rudd said.
The city in which she runs her business is Sanford, FL. It withholds one of the oldest African American founded communities in the United States, called Goldsboro. Rudd expressed that she is grateful to be one of the newest Black owned businesses in Sanford.
“First, I have to thank God for this opportunity. I love that I can be creative with making donuts and different flavors. But I really love that I can share with the community and give back,” she explained. “Overall, it feels good to just experience the freedom of having your own.”
Rudd’s husband, Michael Rudd, is a baker at Donuts Galore and More. He shares the same excitement of working in the Sanford community.
“It feels great to be able to give back to the community and to be able to see people come in, smile and enjoy their donuts,” he said.
As far as giving back to the community, Marie uses her company in more ways than one. She has partnered with a company called Glorious Hands Inc, which is a mentoring academy for young girls. She allows a few of the girls from the mentor company to come in and work for her at the front counter.
“I got involved with the mentor program on June 13 and I am so happy that I did. I used to help with exchange students and foster care. I just love helping the youth because they are the future,” she said. “So, with the mentor company, it was awesome because these are young girls from ages 14 and up. They can actually come here, and get some one-on-one training, and I can help get them ready for the future.”
(Adrianna (top), 14, and Melinda (bottom), 11, mentees from Glorious Hands)
Donuts Galore and More will be having its grand opening on Saturday, July 25, from 8am to 11am.