By CASSIDI HINSON / Social Media Editor | Photograph by Hinson
The Wilson Donut Shop keeps donut recipes in a bank vault. Thirteen years ago Doug and Vera Beamon purchased the donut shop that had been around since 1952, in downtown Wilson, from Tony Stone. It turned out they purchased more than just the business when they bought the Wilson Donut Shop.
“The recipe for the chocolate donut, the creme that goes in the creme puff, and the donuts were bought with the donut shop when we bought it. It is a recipe that’s been around since 1952, so we certainly weren’t going to be the ones to change it. We actually have the recipe put in a safety deposit box. We have each employee that knows how to make the donuts sign a noncompete clause so that its proprietary to us,” said Doug Beamon.
This purchase did not happen by chance and according to Beamon, it was more like divine intervention.
“We were praying. My wife and I go on a 21-day fast at the first of every year and we were praying. My wife had a prayer and she said ‘Lord I want you to bless me with a donut shop’ and we got through praying and I said ‘wait a minute, I know a little bit about some metal and iron but I don’t know anything about donuts’ and she said ‘it’s my prayer and I can pray for what I want to’ and I said ‘you know what you are that’s your prayer,’” said Beamon.
Despite initial hesitation, the Beamons continued to pray and as luck would have it, they ran into the owner [at the time] of The Wilson Donut Shop.
“A couple of weeks later we saw the man that owned the Wilson Donut Shop at Golden Corral. My wife said ‘that’s the Lord, you need to go over and talk to that man’ and I said ‘I don’t want to go over and embarrass myself, that man’s trying to have a meal and so she kept on and said ‘that’s God now go on over there’ so I went over and said ‘Mr. Stone you don’t know me, but if you ever get interested in selling the donut shop please let me know. Then I go back and sit down thinking ‘I am glad that is over,’” said Beamon
Still not sold on the idea of owning a donut shop, the Beamons received a call that would force their hand.
“Maybe a month later he called me and said ‘my wife and I go on a 21 day fast at the first of every year, we go to the Middlesex Church of God and we were praying that God would send us somebody to buy our donut shop. So, we ended up buying the donut shop based on a prayer my wife had at the first of the year and it worked out,” said Beamon.
The Beamon’s prayers were fruitful and since purchasing the Wilson Donut shop, they have tripled sales.
“Our business varies depending on the time of the month. Usually, during the first of the month, we are busier than we are at the last of the month. We mainly focus on donut sales. On a busy day, we will sell four or five thousand donuts, and these are all hand made. At the end of every day, we throw away what we don’t sell, and we start from scratch. Every night at 11 or 12 p.m. somebody comes in and starts making donuts, so that at 6 in the morning when we open the showcase is full.”
The Wilson Donut Shop is a small but busy “mom” and “pop” shop. They remain busy throughout the year and rely heavily on their drive-through.
“We serve about four to five hundred people a day; on a busy day, we will serve seven or eight hundred. We are 85% takeout and in the area we are located there are not a lot of drive-through options. So, people are in a hurry, trying to get to work in the world we live in now, where you’ve got to get places fast. We’ve managed to get people in and out the door quickly, even though we are not like a fast-food restaurant, because if you come in and order it’s not going to be mass-produced, but made to the customers liking, which our customers like,” said Beamon.
Although proud of the fast service and atmosphere he and his wife have cultivated over the past 13 years, Beamon admits the donuts are really what has made the business so successful.
“It’s mainly the product. The donuts and products Vera[owner/wife] puts out is probably not like anything you can find. It is also a full restaurant so you can get a bacon egg and cheese, a donut, and a coffee. It’s a one-stop deal, and people around here like to be able to come in and get a little bit of breakfast with their sweet stuff, so it works out well.”
The Wilson Donut Shop has been able to expand its product over the years and has developed a wide range of customer favorites. All of which are handmade from recipes that are generations old.
“One of the items that are very popular and go rather quickly are the donut holes. We sell dozens of donut holes every day. Our honey buns are also very popular, and we sell out of those pretty quickly each morning. Personally, I love chocolate donuts, and food-wise I like the link sausage because it’s a little bit spicy and has a kick to it. It’s a homemade recipe that actually comes from our food supplier’s grandad. We’ve got people who come in and buy it by the case,” said Beamon.
Providing old fashioned southern hospitality along with old fashioned food is what Beamon believes has developed such a large clientele at the Wilson Donut Shop.
“We try to be friendly and we pride ourselves on the fact that we give good customer service because we know there are a lot of places people can go eat and so we try to make it so they want to come back to visit us,” said Beamon.
The Beamon’s are no strangers to knowing how to run a business because they have been doing it in Wilson for years.
“My wife and I own several businesses here in town and this is one of them. She[owner/wife] runs this one and does the creative baking and decorating. We also own a company called Wilson Iron Works Inc., which is a metal fabrication, welding, and machine shop business. I’ve worked there for 35 years, but I bought it about seven or eight years ago,” said Beamon.
Covid-19 has affected everyone, but the Wilson Donut Shop has persevered by following guidelines and taking advantage of their large quantity of takeout orders.
“We are a tough old business and we have learned to adapt and stay relevant to the generation, especially when you go through a year like 2020 and COVID, you have to be able to adapt or you are not going to last very long. We have tried to do that. Our location is a blessing and a curse, because we are one of the few locations downtown in Wilson that actually has a drive-through which helps our business.”