Creativity is king at Peace, Love & Little Donuts

New franchise on Biddle fills void as Donut Den moves to Roberts Road
Símores donuts line the display counter at Peace, Love & Little Donuts in the Blue Sky Plaza in Medford on Tuesday. Mail Tribune / Jamie LuschJamie Lusch

The local donut scene is on a roll with a new player and an old favorite changing locations and names.

Peace, Love & Little Donuts — a 1970s-themed shop — has opened in Blue Sky Plaza off Biddle Road, while Donut Den exited Bear Creek Plaza shopping center and resurfaced as Monster Donuts and Desserts in the Grand View Shopping Center on Roberts Road.

BUSINESS CARD

Name: Peace, Love & Little Donuts

Service: Donut shop

Owners: George Charlan, Marcella Charlan

Location: Blue Sky Plaza, Suite F, 1200 Biddle Road, Medford

Hours: 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday-Friday; 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday; 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday

Phone: 541-245-9127

Facebook: Peace, Love and Little Donuts of Rogue Valley

BUSINESS CARD

Name: Monster Donuts and Desserts

Service: Donut shop

Owner: Mitchell Hardage

Location: 2041 Roberts Road, Medford

Hours: 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Saturday; 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday.

Phone: 541-779-8290

George Charlan says he discovered the world of Peace, Love & Little Donuts while going to a wedding in Pennsylvania four years ago. A friend had carved out a nice donut niche in a Pittsburgh suburb and Charlan began thinking he could do the same here.

Last month, the former landscape maintenance worker launched a new career. His lineup includes cake donuts with toppings ranging from apple pie fixings to maple-bacon and raspberry-lemonade.

"I went around, checking out donut shops and bakeries in the area, and found two that stood out — Donut Country and Artisan Bakery," Charlan said. "Our creativity and toppings are what set us apart. Our donuts are small, old-fashioned sour-cream cake donuts."

Although he has the capacity to produce 50-dozen donuts an hour, Charlan admits that would be a bit ambitious, for now.

"I'd be pulling my hair out if I were running the machine that fast," he said. "The way it is now, we can leave the oil hot all day to keep them fresh and warm."

Charlan likens the customer experience to Subway, where customers watch their sandwiches being built.

Peace, Love & Little Donuts is the 10th licensed location, joining four in Pennsylvania, three in Ohio, one in Tennessee and one in Florida.

The shop has the town's busiest intersection to itself after Donut Den departed Bear Creek Plaza across the street.

Mitchell Hardage acquired Donut Den five years ago. Not long after, a bagel store opened a few doors down, and he was told he could no longer sell bagels. Sale of dessert offerings were squelched when a restaurant went in next door.

So when his lease expired, he left.

"There were so many restrictions between the time I bought the place in 2009 and now, it didn't make sense to stay," Hardage said. "Bagels were 15 percent of my sales."

After a Carl's Jr.'s burger joint went up along McAndrews Road, Hardage figured it was time to move on.

"It was the third strike," he said. "Visibility, access and parking were problems."

Moving into a space that has previously housed Dell's Burgers, Taco Time and Samoan Joe's, prospects are much better, he said. "I have three times the space here for half the price."

Reach reporter Greg Stiles at 541-776-4463 or business@mailtribune.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregMTBusiness, friend him on Facebook and read his blog at www.mailtribune.com/Economic Edge.


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