Two years ago, Scott Plassman and his wife, Jennifer, traveled to Virginia Beach for something fresh and warm, but not the ocean breeze. What they wanted was Duck Donuts, a made-to-order doughnut shop that was opened by Russ DiGilio and Robin Griffith in North Carolina in 2007.
The Plassman's first caught wind of Duck Donuts from their son and daughter-in-law who noticed how quickly the doughnut shop took off on the Outer Banks, later expanding to New Jersey, Virginia and Delaware. After talking to various franchise owners, the Plassman's decided to beat everyone to the punch and open the first Charlotte store, located on Kenilworth Avenue.
Creative Loafing: You said your son and daughter-in-law introduced you to Duck Donuts, can you tell me more about their experience that wanted you to get involved?
Scott Plassman: Our daughter-in-law's parents live in Williamsburg and the first franchise store opened in Williamsburg around November of 2013, so they were there during Christmas time, visiting. They saw a line out the door even a month after opening, so they spoke with one of the founders in February and then a few other locations and, after talking about it, they got us involved. We (Scott and Jennifer) spoke to the Charlottesville, Virginia, franchisee, and he said, "If you don't go to Charlotte, I will." We had to prepare some things back home in Ohio before we made the move to Charlotte, but it all just kind of fell into place. My other son lives in Asheville, which is a few hours away, so that's nice too. It's kind of about family; there has to be an emphasis on that.
Do you think that family is what sets Duck Donuts apart from other pastry shops?
It is definitely family-oriented. We prepare and fry the doughnuts right in front of the people, and then we ask them how they would like the doughnuts to be topped. We even have a little step for children so that they can stand on that and get a better view of how the doughnuts are being made so it is kind of about the experience that makes it different. Ours are as fresh as you can get. We don't keep them overnight and whatever we sell that day is what we sell.
Are there any flavor ideas you'd like to see on the menu, and what's your favorite flavor?
I like the maple frosting with the bacon bits, and I think that's one of the most popular flavors. I was thinking if we had to add a flavor, it would be a blueberry one and tie it in with the Carolina Panthers. It would have to be approved by corporate, which they would probably say ok to, and with the store opening in fall it would be a good time for that. They have set flavors, but you can get really creative. For example, one is called beach and it has a glaze and cinnamon sugar to look like sand, or another one called creamsicle that has orange and white glaze.