PORTLAND — No matter what gimmicks, marketing schemes or luck you fold into your dough, Rick Fournier says selling doughnuts comes down to just one thing: flavor.
So what makes his Tony’s Donuts such a long-lived success, despite stiff competition from local bakeries and national chains?
“I’ve got the taste,” Fournier said. “I know what doughnuts are supposed to taste like.”
Now, after operating out of its 9 Bolton St. location for more than 45 years, Tony’s Donuts is planning to open a second bakery at 1059 Broadway in South Portland. Fournier expects the new shop to open this fall.
“It’s a great location, and it’s about time we expand,” Fournier said.
Fournier said he’d been in negotiations with the South Portland property owner for more than two years. He wouldn’t say how much he paid for the roughly half-acre parcel and a 1,400-square-foot retail building, but the site’s assessed value is about $265,000, according to South Portland tax documents.
The building on Broadway was a gas station for decades, first Chevron and then Irving, and has been vacant and boarded up for five years.
Tony’s Donuts was opened in 1965, by Fournier’s father, Antonio Fournier. Fournier took over the business after his father died in 2005. The business churns out 250 dozen doughnuts a day, plus other assorted pastries like whoopie pies and eclairs.
Aside from the taste, what makes Tony’s Donuts special, Fournier said, is that all the doughnuts are still hand-made and hand-cut. Machine-formed and -cut doughnuts require a more fluid dough, which makes for a greasier and less-flavorful product, he said.
The business model is also about keeping the product affordable, he said. You can get a 10-ounce cup of coffee and a single donut at Tony’s for $1.50. Those prices keep the six or so tables at Bolton Street packed most of the day, and the same prices will be the order of the day in South Portland, Fournier said.
Fournier said the time is right to expand his bakery. Between the economy driving property prices down and the proliferation of boutique baked goods, it’s a good time to deal in confection, he said.
Especially if your offerings include whoopie pies, he said. Tony’s offers them in lots of varieties, including a relatively new red velvet cake.
“Cupcakes are on their way out,” Fournier said, referring to the frosted treat’s explosion in popularity over the past few years. “Whoopie pies are next. Decorated ones with fancy flavors. … We could open a whoopie pie factory in New York City and it would get so big.”
Fournier said he doesn’t see the expansion into South Portland as the last step in Tony’s growth. He’s working on a plan to franchise the bakery, allowing others to open up Tony’s Donuts shops true to the bakery his father built.
“Several people have approached me, wanting to set up a franchise,” he said. “They’re all Mainers, too. We’re working on it.”
Rick Fournier, owner of Tony’s Donuts, in his basement office. He said expanding the business to South Portland is the first step of a growth plan that will eventually include franchises.
Trays full of fresh-baked, handmade donuts await the hungry at Tony’s Donuts on Bolton Street in Portland. Tony’s is set to expand to a second location on Broadway in South Portland this year.
Tony’s Donuts, 9 Bolton St., Portland, will be joined by a second Tony’s on Broadway in South Portland.