Local donut shop struggling to stay afloat

Posted at: 12/13/2013 7:39 PM
By: Stuart Dyson, KOB Eyewitness News 4

To the owners of Rebel Donut, Downtown Albuquerque looked like a nice fat donut all right – a great place to set up shop and establish a foothold. But Downtown turned out to be nothing but a hole.

It looked like a can’t lose proposition – young people moving into apartments and town houses, a captive market of office workers and government employees.  Rebel owners Carrie and Jeff Mettling and Nancy Lesick figured their trendy, edgy, local-legend status would be a good fit with Downtown. These are the donut dealers that specialize in creative tour-de-forces like the “Blue Sky” donut inspired by the blue meth in the “Breaking Bad” TV series. They opened their Downtown satellite store at 4th and Gold back in June and for a while business was rising, and the world was sweet with sprinkles on top. Then things fell flat and turned sour.

“The high school across the street (Amy Biehl Charter School) is a year-round school,” said store manager Jim Payne. “They went on a three week break. At the same time the federal government shut down for three weeks, and we just never got the business back. It never came back.”

Many other Downtown business owners will tell you their sales are shrinking too – but not as bad as the little donut shop in the old Simms Building.

“We’ve lost as much money as we’ve put into it,” said co-owner Carrie Mettling. “This store has lost as much money as our other two stores have made, so this small store is slowly sinking our whole business.”

The plan? Pull the plug Downtown and move up near UNM. But that will take money and one idea is already a day-old donut. Thursday night the owners went on Facebook and posted a plea for help – contributions, investments, anything to help them re-locate. After an hour or so they pulled it down – not ready for the so-called “crowd-funding” form of kick-starting a business. Tonight though it’s back up again, and people are making small donations.