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Meet Karissa Norfleet of Simply Done Donuts in Duluth

Today we’d like to introduce you to Karissa Norfleet.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
In Jan 2015, I was really feeling the need for a change from the corporate world. I had been with AT&T for 9 years and sitting at a desk answering to someone else just wasn’t cutting it anymore. We were somewhat new to ATL, 3 years in, and I realized when we first arrived there were no mom and pop donut shops. Not ones I was used to going to growing up in Texas. That is when it dawned on me I wanted to be in the donut biz but I didn’t want to jump into brick and mortar. After a conversation with my mom, we thought it would be best to try a food truck first to get my feet wet, test my product out, and build our brand to see if that would take before doing retail. We were and still are the only donut food truck in ATL. I was finally able to leave the corporate world 1.5 yrs in and now 2 years later we are opening up our first donut and coffee shop! Living the dream as they say 🙂

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I would say the overall vision has been smooth but the food truck scene is not glamorous at all. Every time you head out on the streets of Atlanta you risk something happening. Anything from flat tires, traffic accidents, bad weather, my grey water tank falling out, to load in issues at locations- there is always something. Not to mention it is really HOT inside a food truck and gets really COLD in the winter haha. But folks love food trucks! The city of Atlanta also isn’t very food truck friendly so the amount of business we can all do is somewhat limited. We can’t just vend anywhere like in California but our Food Truck Association is working hard to change that.

As for the store build out, there aren’t enough tissues to keep my eyes dry. I don’t regret anything just to be clear but building your own shop in a new development is like a college project on steroids. I have enjoyed learning new stuff every single day but man that list of things to do is quite long and there aren’t enough hours in the day to get it done. It takes a toll on you especially when you have a deadline to get it all done and in the back of your mind there is always the ‘what if this doesn’t work out?’ Whatever budget you have in mind add 20% more. Stuff always pops up. For example, signage for the shop didn’t ever cross my mind and was never mentioned in conversations with other business owners. When it came time to explore options, companies were quoting me $10k for signage. Talk about bug eyed. This is when you get thrifty and call in students and art alumni to help create something amazing.

But I wouldn’t change a thing. I have a vision and it is taking shape. I am on my way to my happy place!

Please tell us about Simply Done Donuts.
We are the only mini donut company in Atlanta. So no more feeling guilty about eating a donut! You can now sample many more flavors and have fun doing it. Our company does mini cake donuts made fresh to order. On the truck we literally make them right there on site! They come out warm and melt in your mouth. The same will be done at the shop. Currently, the truck carries about 12 flavors regularly but the shop will have close to 30 and then flavors of the month. A little over a year ago we introduced our donut sundaes- just what would think. A scoop of vanilla ice cream on top of your hot minis. Mind blowing! The shop will introduce other products too like donut milkshakes, gourmet coffee (and coffee that cares!) from a local roaster, and unique donut flavors. We hope to one day add savory donut sandwich options as well but will wait for the “sugar” to settle first before getting too crazy!

Our most popular flavors to date are the Sopapilla (cinnamon sugar + honey, YUM!), Apple Pie, Strawberry Cheesecake, and Smorelicious. You won’t go wrong with any of them though!

What is great about our set up is folks have the option to have the food truck out to their events, we can bring our donut machine inside your venue to smell and watch the donuts being made right in front of your eyes (my favorite experience), and will host donut parties at the shop when it opens. So lots of great options to feed any donut desire!

I love that we can make someone’s day. People say I must have a passion for donuts- that they are my life. Yes, I do LOVE donuts and it just happened to be my first word as a child (seriously!) but my passion isn’t donuts. It is people. I LOVE people. I love meeting folks, making friends, impacting someone’s day, putting a smile on their face, giving them a place to feel comfortable. I just happened to find an avenue to help me achieve my desire to make friends 🙂

Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
Going to Shipley’s Donuts on a special occasion to get donuts. Looking back, I am shocked at how many donuts I could eat lol! Granted I was growing and played sports but I would order about 4 full size ones and eat them all. Nook them in the microwave just a few secs to get that melt-in-your-mouth texture. Mmmm!

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Horn Photography and Design

1 Comment

  1. Ginger Summerville

    March 30, 2017 at 10:29 pm

    These donuts were amazing. I am so excited that they are opening in my hometown of Duluth. Welcome and wish you many years of success.

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