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HomeBusinessCrave Doughnuts ignites Durham's entrepreneurial spirit with sweet success

Crave Doughnuts ignites Durham’s entrepreneurial spirit with sweet success

Nestled within Durham Region’s growing and thriving business landscape is a culinary gem founded by Nicole Morais and Jeremy Black.

Crave Doughnuts, established in 2017, mirrors this trend of younger entrepreneurs growing businesses in the Durham community.

According to Statistics Canada, small-scale enterprises like Crave, employing between one and 99 workers, accounted for nearly two-thirds of all employees in Canadian small businesses in 2022.

“I’ve always been kind of doing my own little side hustle, I guess, without really realizing it,” said Morais. “So that’s kind of how Crave really did start,” said Morais.

Crave emerged from a straightforward love for doughnuts. Morais and Black noticed there were not many specialty doughnut places in Durham, and what was once a ‘side hustle’ of selling doughnuts to family and friends has now become a thriving business.

Drawing from her hospitality background and a passion for baking, 29-year-old Morais established this doughnut shop in Durham.

However, she didn’t embark on this journey alone; her partner, 31-year-old Black, brought his technical expertise to bolster the business by helping to manage their busy schedules and yield numbers.

Since their first physical store in Whitby opened in 2019, they’ve opened a second location in Oshawa in 2023.

“We took this big job of moving our whole kitchen to this new location where we built out, kind of like our dream kitchen,” said Morais.

While the original store continues to operate within an 800-square-foot space, the Oshawa site offers a spacious 3,000 square feet.

In 2020, there were over 4,000 food businesses established in Ontario, according to the Ontario government.

However, Crave Doughnuts has become a prime example of the innovative ventures shaping the local business scene in Durham.

With items on its menu like the French Toast or Maple Bacon Bar doughnuts, Crave sets itself apart from other businesses by hosting a plethora of specialty doughnuts and ‘putting a twist’ on more traditional desserts.

Their specialty doughnut menu includes a few staples; however, a rotational section allows Morais and Black to unleash their creativity.

Morais usually does this during the holidays, making specialty doughnuts for Christmas and Valentine’s Day.

This allows the pair to create doughnuts like the Toucan Sam, a treat inspired by the Froot Loops cereal that features cereal milk-infused pastry cream inside.

“We love being connected to our customers and our fan base. So we are running like a fan favorite menu right now,” said Morais.

However, it is not just the varieties of doughnuts that set them apart from other doughnut businesses.

The doughnuts are often made using locally grown and sourced ingredients, contributing to other small businesses in the area.

Local community member Tyler Lewis said, “It feels good to support businesses that support other local businesses.”

The use of locally sourced ingredients is an important point of their business as, despite the higher ingredient cost, it ensures they are creating quality products.

“I do think it makes a really big difference in the taste and the quality, and ultimately it’s just really important to me because I think it’s really special to source locally rather than, you know, get something that’s mass produced,” said Morais.

In a landscape dominated by big franchises, a conscious effort to support other small businesses in the area goes beyond providing a unique flavour for their doughnuts; it’s about creating a closer community.

As they continue to grow, Morais and Black have been asked about expanding across Canada; however, they say it would be difficult to replicate what they do on a larger scale.

As Crave Doughnuts looks toward a promising future, they have become more than a local phenomenon as Morais encourages other young entrepreneurs to be really passionate and have their heart in their businesses.

Morais believes that people are drawn to working for and with individuals who are goal-oriented and committed to their mission. “So I’d say…focus on your business plan and give it your all,” said Morais.