Video: A Brief Chat With a Third Generation Donut Maker at Dutch Girl Donuts

February 05, 2016, 6:46 AM by  Allan Lengel

I first sampled Dutch Girl Donuts a couple years ago when driving down Woodward Avenue, just south of 7 Mile Road in Detroit, with a friend from New York.

We went inside, bought a couple of classic, plain cake donuts with chocolate on top, jumped back in the car and started to devour them. 

"This is the best donut I've ever had," my friend declared. I didn't argue. Plenty folks go gaga for these sugary treats. They flock from the suburbs and city, and from out of town. 

The donuts seem more substantial than the ones the chains produce. Not to knock the chains. There really isn't such thing as a bad donut, but there's something to be said about some of the mom-and-pop donut shops scattered around Metro Detroit.

Cecelia and John Timmer started the donut shop in 1947. It  was originally called Dixie Cream Donuts, a franchise outlet, and was located a half a mile north  of the current spot, near the State Fair grounds. In 1950, they moved to a newly constructed shop, which is where it stands today. In the mid-1950s, they broke away from the franchise and became Dutch Girl Donuts.

In 1965, John Timmer passed away and his son Gene, a 1964 graduate of West Bloomfield High School, took over the business. He still operates it today. Gene's mother Cecelia continued to do the books until she died a few years ago at 90.

Some things haven't changed since the shop opened. The recipe is pretty much the same. But the prices have changed. A dozen donuts once cost about 37 cents. Now, they go for $8 or 75 cents each.

The neighborhood also changed. Parts are more run down, though the shop is not far from some of the city's more stable neighborhoods, Palmer Woods and Green Acres, on the west side of Woodward.  Still, the bullet proof glass at the counter, which was installed about 25 years ago, is a reminder of times changed.   

The store is open 24-hours, Monday-Saturday. It's closed Sundays and reopens early Monday, sometimes around 2 a.m. And to no surprise, Fat Tuesday, which is next week, is the busiest day of the year, thanks to the popularity of the Paczki. 

These days Gene gets help from his wife, Lauren, a retired school teacher who does the books, and his son Jon Timmer, 35, a third generation Dutch Girl Donut maker, who helps manage the place. Jon has worked at the shop on and off since attending Walled Lake Western High School.  He served in the Navy right after high school from 1999- 2004.

Deadline Detroit recently spoke to Jon Timmer about the business. (Watch the video above).





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