For the last three weeks, John and Allison Reno have been working around the clock trying to keep up with an unexpected demand for the gourmet doughnuts sold at their new West Dundee shop.
Customers have been coming in droves, sometimes forming a line out the door, to sample the small-batch handcrafted delicacy offered at Craft Donuts & Coffee, the Algonquin couple says. Hundreds of patrons visit the shop at 124 W. Main St. on a daily basis, they said, and on some mornings, they've sold out of 1,000 or more doughnuts in less than four hours.
"We've been absolutely slammed," John Reno said. "We've had four to five times the business right out of the gate than we had planned."
The shop's popularity has created some challenges for the Renos, who have already had to hire more staff and purchase new equipment since the Jan. 17 soft opening. Each of the store's 18 employees -- including the owners -- has had to wear several different hats, from making dough and pouring coffee to running the register and taking out the trash, Reno said.
Reno said he doesn't mind the long hours and extra workload, as long as customers are enjoying the product.
"We don't mind being involved in the operation because we want to see this succeed," he said, pointing to the adjustments they've made to increase production. "It's not an overnight change because we want to do things the right way. It's a real balancing act for us."
The Craft building, which is owned by downtown businessman Andy Burns, has undergone a major renovation in the last several months, including a new facade, an interior build-out and the addition of a display window so customers could watch the doughnuts being made.
West Dundee last year contributed $50,000 to assist with construction costs on the property, which contains apartments on the second floor. At the time, the village board also offered the Renos a $50,000 low-interest loan to be paid off over five years to help with startup costs.
"We're so pleased to see the community's reception to Craft and its function as a gathering space and an area destination," said Tim Scott, community development director. "This well-deserved success is a testament to the hard work of proprietors and the commitment of the building's owners."
Craft, which also sells coffee and specialty espresso drinks, is open 6 a.m. to 1 p.m. every day. The Renos, who are originally from Texas and have experience in the food industry, hope to eventually extend their hours and try out creative new doughnut recipes.
"Mostly, we want to make sure we make good long-term decisions on ramping up productions and meeting the demands," Reno said. "We're trying to make sure we meet expectations or exceed them. It's a good problem for us to have."