Local doughnut shop finds success

After nearly six months of business, The Dapper Doughnut, a shop dedicated to fresh-baked mini donuts in Waynesburg, is still going strong.

Thomas Rohanna, owner of The Dapper Doughnut, runs the business alongside his wife, Kirsten. Rohanna is an alumnus of the Waynesburg University business department, but when he graduated, he said he didn’t have an exact plan.

“Right after I graduated, I couldn’t find a job I wanted right away,” Rohanna said. “I was working at several different restaurants [in the Waynesburg area].”

Rohanna said he worked everywhere, from New Lam’s Garden to Dominos. Eventually, he decided he had bigger plans.

“I decided I wanted to do my own thing,” he said.

That’s when he learned about The Dapper Doughnut, a franchise that originally opened in 2015 and has since grown into 30 storefronts nationwide and beyond, including several storefronts in Canada. According to the official website, the idea for the franchise simply came from the passion Jeff Pappas, the original owner, had for fresh donuts.

After doing research and using his business skills, Rohanna said he decided to open a storefront in Waynesburg near the Sheetz and the Greene County Fairgrounds in August 2018, and today, the rest is history.

Since the official opening in August, Rohanna said business has been fairly steady, but lately, he’s seen a slight decrease in patronage, likely due to the cold weather.

“It seems in the wintertime, it’s been a little bit less busy,” Rohanna said.

One thing that has helped Rohanna keep business going is his newest  idea: catering weddings.

“We actually did our first wedding yesterday,” Rohanna said. “It was really great and the most fun part about the business for me.”

Catering through The Dapper Doughnut involves the staff literally “bringing out their storefront to the venue.” Rohanna said this requires the staff to be at the event for several hours making fresh donuts and serving them to the guests.

“It’s more time consuming than most people think,” Rohanna said. “We have to bring [all of the equipment] back and we have to clean it all.”

In order to properly cater an event, Rohanna said they bring a portable donut-making machine and bring it “right out to the people.” Attendees have the ability to customize their toppings and flavors, just like they can at the store.

As he continues to pursue more catering opportunities and to boost his business, Rohanna said he has set another goal for the near future, which is opening a new location in Washington.