Owning your own business has always been part of the American dream. The exact business might be anything from an organic vegetable farm to a manufacturing company. Each specific business niche contains its own set of risks and rewards. What makes a person take that dream step and open the doors to the business they’ve always wanted?
Traci Lukemire of Donna’s Delicious Dozen can answer that with just one word: faith – faith in a marketable idea, in a quality product, in the community served and the family behind the scenes. As a Heartland Bank client, Donna’s Delicious Dozen is proud to have reached their two-year milestone, survived the recent pandemic and purchased a food truck sooner than expected.
This doughnut story began over five years ago as Traci started to take notes during doughnut shop escapades while on vacation. Her family enjoyed visiting unique shops on their travels, and as a baker, she was intrigued by the made-to-order concept. She was convinced that this same enjoyment could be had on mornings and weekends in her very own hometown. According to Traci, “Columbus is a bubble. You don’t have to leave your bubble to compete.”
Traci would soon find herself banking on this notion as she took her dream step. “I’ve always baked and when I saw this concept on vacation (before it was ever in Columbus), I told my husband I thought that I could do that! Well, it took a few years, but I did a bucket-list race (Ragnar SoCal, a twelve-person team relay race) in Southern California, and I told my husband if I can do this race, I can do anything. When I got back from completing the race, we started planning.”
After two years of planning, free classes at Columbus State and strategic location research, Traci was ready to assemble her team of an accountant, a banker and a lawyer to assist her with the startup phase. She quickly found an accountant and a lawyer, but she already had a bank, so she assumed she had a banker even though she never worked with one specific person at her bank.
Traci had been cooking her marketable idea for a while – hot, fresh doughnuts, made to order with a wide array of unique topping combinations. She would offer special creations for holidays, birthdays and festive occasions to entice customers to return often. Traci also found a convenient location in Gahanna that allowed her to repurpose many items left in the space by the former renter. For one-of-a-kind needs, she became an expert of “marketplace” on Facebook, allowing for the purchase of all of her equipment via a second-hand approach.
Currently, with an amazing right-hand in place with Alaina Marcum, Traci has been able to expand her reach with a food truck purchased on the marketplace that was just simply meant to be – a year ahead of schedule but was her exact branding colors and a great deal. Heartland Bank was able to make this purchase possible, and Traci admits that her 2021 success is directly related to this new endeavor.
Even after a slow month during the start of the work-from-home mandates of early 2020, Traci was fortunate to stay strong in her market and remained open with online ordering and in-car waiting at her shop. The road construction, however, that is currently dictating her customer flow into and out of her shop, has hit her bottom line hard with her food truck business the actual saving grace.
Traci was beginning to realize what her teachers at Columbus State meant by a “banker.” This was not really just the person that processes your deposits – this is the people who check on you during a pandemic, frequent your business for their family and business needs, provide referrals to local business owners and help you purchase a food truck a year ahead of schedule!
Having Heartland bankers behind her is comparable to having “Donna” behind her – Donna Mitchell, Traci’s 92-year-old grandmother and namesake for Donna’s Delicious Dozen. Both are proud to see her succeed and hope for a prosperous future for her. Traci does have plans for the future and admits that she has a couple of special things in mind to help her compete locally.
“It has been an amazing journey from where I started to where I am now,” shares Traci. Lesley Williamson and Kelly Law were the “bankers” that supported her along much of this journey. If you need dedicated bankers to help you start or complete the journey of your dreams, contact Heartland Bank today!