Originally Posted Online: Dec. 03, 2012, 7:29 pm
Last Updated: Dec. 04, 2012, 12:25 am

'This little doughnut shop just wants to survive'

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By Leon Lagerstam, llagerstam@qconline.com

More photos from this shoot
Photo: Gary Krambeck
Melinda Palos, left, and Marshal Dray, cashiers at the Donuts & More store at 2430 16th St. in Moline, work to fold boxes and fill the shelves with freshly made donuts after the store reopened Monday Dec. 3, 2012.

MOLINE -- It was a ''hole'' lot happier at Donuts & More stores Monday.

After about a month-long hiatus, the Moline and Davenport stores were reopened. And it was tough to see who was happier about it -- the customers or employees.

"Everybody was smiling,'' worker Marshal Dray said.

The doughnut shops were closed suddenly in early November, and it took owner Andria McDermott about three weeks and nearly $40,000 to reopen them, she said Monday.

Ms. McDermott said she had tried to sell the business through a brokerage firm to a DeWitt man, but he reportedly failed to finish paying for it, and closed and locked the doors Nov. 5, without paying any bills or the employees.

Employee Melinda Palos, who works the front cashier at the Moline store, 2430 16th St., Moline, said she didn't get paid from Oct. 15 to Nov. 5, but was overjoyed about returning to work.

''It feels great seeing all my regulars,'' Ms. Palos said, greeting customers by name.

''It's the customers who brought me back,'' Mr. Dray said. ''I love it here.''

His mother, Sara Dray, also was rehired, Ms. McDermott said.

''It's no fun being out of work,'' baker Henry Davis said.''I did some job hunting while the store was closed, but I knew that Andria wanted to reopen it.''

Ms. McDermott called the reopening a ''relief.''

She said it was terrible hearing how it was closed down, leaving ''25 people unemployed right before Christmas. I can't tell you how happy I am that they're back to work in time for Christmas.''

Legal action is pending, but getting the doughnut shops reopened took priority, Ms. McDermott said.

"This little doughnut shop just wants to survive,'' Davenport store employee John Howard said. ''It's taken a lot of knocks over the past three years, but it wants to survive.''

''It felt like a rip-off when it closed in November,'' customer Mike Campbell of Moline said. ''It sure is nice to see some of the same people working here. I'm glad they hired them back."

He said he also was glad to get a lemon doughnut and regular coffee.

Stephanie Goodnight, another Moline customer, was thrilled to get a couple of chocolate sprinkled doughnuts Monday morning.

She said the last time she had been in the store was the day before it closed. ''I was one of those customers who came back a day later and said, 'Oh no, they're closed. Where'd they go.' ''

It took Ms. McDermott some time and money to ''get everything up and running again,'' she said.

Everything had been disconnected, and it cost $3,000 to get electricity turned back on, and $2,000 to get the water on, she said. About $5,000 worth of inventory was lost after the electricity was shut off, she said.

And don't try calling the stores yet, because phone service has not yet been established, Ms. McDermott said, adding that their supplier also needed $11,000 before agreeing to continue supplying the stores.

Michele Hudson has been hired as general manager to handle human resources and get shop finances back in order. Ms. McDermott said she couldn't have handled the reorganization, and balancing two jobs and three kids without the help of Ms. Hudson and previous owners, Tom and Jan Amyette.

The Amyettes owned the business for 27 years, Ms. McDermott said. ''I felt so guilty when I went to their house to tell them what had happened. I felt so miserable, but John said 'I'm not glad it happened, but sometimes we need to go through trials to make ourselves better.''

Ms. Amyette also reported for duty Monday, and helped out in the Davenport store, at 1717 N. Brady St., Ms. McDermott said.

Ms. Palos arrived for work at the Moline shop at 4:30 a.m. Monday. She said her mother, the late Lynn Palos, worked there from 1986 to 1994.

She also was quick to point out the store's new cappuccino machine that features new pumpkin spice and French vanilla flavors, in addition to regular coffee and hot chocolate offerings.

John and Angela Howard, bakers at the Davenport store, said they met at the doughnut shop, and got married about a year ago, ''so we have a lot of sweet memories about working there,'' Mr. Howard said.

He's worked there for 18 years, while his wife is a 12-year employee. ''A big part of our lives have been spent there, so we were excited about going back to work.''