Daylight Donuts to open new location in February, make changes for customers

Daylight Donuts will reopen at a new location on South First Avenue after closing last May. The shop will focus on donut freshness and plans to partner with Intelligentsia Coffee to provide “high-end” products to its customers.


Ryan Adams

The new location of Daylight Donuts is seen Dec. 1, 2019 in Iowa City. Daylight Donuts is currently in the process of relocating its Iowa City business here on First Avenue.

Riley Davis, News Reporter

Nearly a year after its closure in the spring, Daylight Donuts will make a comeback in February, sporting a new location and new mentality to put freshness first for the doughnut lovers of Iowa City.

Casey’s General Store bought the donut shop’s previous location on 3560 E. Court St., where Daylight Donuts operated since 2011, and closed soon after in spring 2019. Daylight Donuts has since moved to a new location at 1681 S. First Ave., and the company is preparing to reopen next month. The business almost moved to the other side of the city before choosing its new location.

Daylight Donuts owner Scott Ward said he considered opening the new shop on the west side of Iowa City. Ward said the shop picked a new location and even drew up plans, but he changed his mind after what he billed as an overwhelming amount of customers who requested that the business stay on the east side.

The company’s primary challenge was finding a location that accommodated its needs as a doughnut shop, Ward said. This limited the shop’s available options on the east side — many building owners didn’t want to make donut-shop-necessary changes such as having holes punched in their roofs, he added. Finding the new location took longer than anticipated, Ward said, but the search was worth the wait.

Cleo Goeckner, a Daylight Donuts employee, said she was glad the businesses stayed on the east side.

“I think with the doughnut shop, we’re really a spot that a lot of neighbors walk to and meet [at in order to] spend time together,” Goeckner said. “I don’t think I’ve seen that as much in other businesses around town, but I think it is especially important to the east side neighborhoods.”

The new location isn’t the only change that Daylight Donuts’ customers will see once the shop opens. Because of the building’s smaller size, the shop will become take-out oriented with a drive-thru for customer convenience, and their hours will extend further into the afternoon and evening. It will also partner with Intelligentsia Coffee, Ward said.

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The greatest change will be the shop’s transition from wholesale to retail with a greater emphasis on doughnut freshness, he said.

“What I want to do is make sure that everyone can get a hot, fresh, glazed doughnut,” Ward said. “If you’ve ever had one that’s just been out of the fryer, they literally melt in your mouth, and it’s an experience that once you have it, you’ll want to come back for another one.”

Wendy Ford, economic development coordinator for Iowa City, said a number of factors make a business such as Daylight Donuts successful in the area. Depending on the type of business, she said, location and a well-thought-out business plan are critical elements.

“A successful business plan should consider who your customers are, how many customers you’ll have, what your pricing is, and also what your costs are so that you can have more income than out-go,” Ford said.

Ward said although the company’s upcoming change focuses on altering location and product, its business plan and success revolves around the relationships that employees build with their customers.

“We really try to keep it simple and try not to treat it like a business; I mean, you’re serving your neighbors and your friends,” Ward said. “A business means that you’re in the business of creating relationships, and if you have a great product that’s even better. But it’s really about creating those relationships with your customers.”