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Puck's Donuts departure leaves a hole

Puck’s Donuts, a sugary icon on Lithia Way in Ashland for at least 40 years, is gone — to be replaced by Case Coffee Roasters, which will also keep its shop on Siskiyou Boulevard in operation.

Puck’s owners Chandra Hay and Be Khamphanh are moving to Texas. Relatives of the couple will keep Puck’s going in Phoenix and west Medford.

“We will miss all our regulars. We’re very sad to leave,” said Hay. “Many have been coming since they were little, and we’ve seen them grow up and go to high school and college. Some have passed away. We’ve been really touched to be part of their lives and have enjoyed every minute. We have to leave and move on to a new chapter of our lives.”

The new Case at 44 Lithia Way is much bigger than the present one and will seat 25 people. Like the present Case, it will make its own muffins, biscuits, scones, cinnamon rolls and granola, said owners Kati and Tim Case.

Downtown doughnut lovers can take heart from the fact that the new operation will still serve doughnuts. They will come from Organicos of Phoenix.

“Our son, who is 7, started to cry when he heard Puck’s was gone,” said Tim Case, a native Ashlander who also adored Puck’s doughnuts as a child. “So we felt we had to keep that tradition going.”

Old Puck’s regulars still stroll up to the door to read the bad news posted there. One, Don Seebart, said, “It’s sad because I so enjoyed coming here for the last five or 10 years. Their doughnuts were so good.”

The new Case will get a major overhaul, with new concrete floor and lots of paint, said Tim Case. New tables, chairs and bar are being made by local carpenter Nick Daniel. A new espresso machine is being custom made. The shop will provide needed space for green coffee beans.

The focus of Case is their “passion” for coffee and roasting, including annual visits to farmers in Colombia, Guatemala, Kenya and Ethiopia, said Tim Case. His growers pick their harvest by hand, not with machines that “rape the trees,” he said. Prices allow farmers to make a living wage, he added.

“This will set us apart from downtown coffee shops,” he says. “We’re excited to be a part of the downtown community, although our present shop serves a lot of people in the south of town, as well as students from the college." It opened in 2006.

The new shop shares a parking lot with liquor and wine shops at the corner of Oak Street and Lithia Way. It has parking in front on Lithia Way. The new shop will soon be interviewing for eight or nine new employees.

— John Darling is an Ashland freelance writer. Reach him at jdarling@jeffnet.org.

Tim and Kat Case at the site of their second Ashland location, the former home of Puck's Donuts. [Photo by John Darling]