Stratford-based Donut Crazy is gearing up for some new growth, and it’s starting where it all began.
Plans to move and expand the gourmet doughnut brand’s first location at 3690 Main St. in the Paradise Green neighborhood are in the works as owner Jason Wojnarowksi looks to open and maximize his shop’s offerings by next spring. The shop is to move a few blocks away to a 1,180-square-foot structure at 3500 Main St. that was once a gas station.
“It’s repurposing that building to make it something really cool,” he said.
It will be a step up from the current shop, which lacks seating and offers roughly 20 percent of the menu items compared to its other stores, according to Wojnarowksi, who said the new building would also offer high ceilings and garage doors that would open in warmer months.
It joins stores in Westport, Shelton and New Haven with another planned in West Hartford by October.
“Right now we don’t have seating in the current location, so that will be a huge change, but also to have a really cool environment where people can sit and have a cup of coffee or sit and have breakfast or grab their doughnut. That’s been one thing that we’ve tried to do in all of the locations is have something where you just feel at home and comfortable.”
Wojnarowksi took over the former Donut Inc. shop five years ago and started his Donut Crazy brand shortly after, offering customers a mix of daily handmade selections as well as the “crazies” options that helped garner popularity with unique recipes.
Along with expansion, Donut Crazy recently moved its production from Shelton to a new Stratford kitchen that services all its shops. The 4,500-square-foot facility operates 24 hours a day with up to 12 employees.
Prior to the relocation, the products were made in the Shelton store.
“It’s made things a lot easier with logistics,” Wojnarowksi said. “Trying to make them in the store and that space was really hard with the carts and racks and the frying all that type of stuff. The space has been really good for us.”
Donut Crazy’s growth has gone beyond new stores. Opting to create a fuller cafe model, the shops now offer coffee, juices and breakfast sandwiches as a way to drum up a mix of customers.
Though they dabble in other avenues to stay competitive, Wojnarowksi said doughnuts come first.
“We think that is one of the parts that can start to differentiate us from some of the other places,” he added.
There have been setbacks, however. Donut Crazy’s location in Black Rock and smaller operation in Branford shuttered last year after brief stints.
Still, further expansion in Connecticut, and possibly beyond, isn’t off the table, according to Wojnarowski who is hopeful the brand will move further down Fairfield County and into Westchester County, N.Y., in coming years.