Marriage at Work: Doughnut Duo

Posted at: 02/13/2014 8:29 PM
By: Laura Lee

(ABC 6 News) -- We continue our "Marriage at Work" series with a couple who loves to not only work together, but bake together.

"Good morning, what can I get you?"

Janet Hooker knows just about everyone who walks through the front doors of her business.  "We get to meet our customers and get to know them on a first name basis," she says.

She knows if they take their coffee black and what kind of donut they like. That's because she and her husband own the Donut Connection in Austin.
"Everyone likes doughnuts," says Dan Hooker, "its a comfort food and that's never going to change."  With more than 50 varieties, theres a flavor for everyone.

"Cherry, the flavor of the month, double chocolate, the old fashioned,  even one with sprinkles," says Janet.  When asked what was their favorites, "Dan likes the old fashioned, which is a cake doughnut with a glaze and I like the double chocolate, because I love anything chocolate," she says.

And it was their love for sweets that started their business.  "We bought the shop, moved to Austin, quit our jobs, got married and opened this business all in the same month," says Dan.

That was nearly 38 years ago.

"I don't know that we knew what we were doing, but we had a lot of ambition and we had youth on our side," he says.

They also had each other.

"If you're positive about it, it is going to work out," says Janet.  As newlyweds, they opened up their first doughnut shop together, Mister Donut back in 1976.  Then in the early 90's, it changed to Dunkin Donuts.  In fact, the Hookers owned the last operating Dunkin Donuts in Minnesota.

"We were the last one to close in 2005 and decided to go independent," he says.  

Becoming Donut Connection for the last 19 years.  "We get to work together and we get to do what we know is best," says Dan.
But working together seven days a week on the overnight shift is not easy.
"Work stays at work if you can, and when you get home, you concentrate on your family and your married life and your kids," says Janet, "we also have a division of power."

Meaning Janet is in charge of the front and Dan takes care of the books and the delivery routes.  "He does all the behind the scenes jobs," says Janet.

Balancing work with family life which includes spending time with their grandchildren.

"This is all we've ever known," says Dan, "if you look around, there aren't many moms and pops left on main street USA anymore, its satisfying to know that in town the size of Austin, we can maintain a small business and keep it going."

"Do you guys plan to retire, where you guys started?" Lee asks.
"Probably, we're still pretty young," chuckles Dan, "we've got a long way still."