NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — On Norfolk’s 21st Street in Ghent, you’ll stumble upon a sweet spot with an even sweeter history. After opening nearly a decade ago, O’s Donuts became a community staple.
That was until the pandemic closed its doors and threatened to keep them locked. Two recent James Madison University grads put their foot in the door to preserve history and keep that from happening.
“It’s been awesome,” said business co-owner Ally Amory. “I mean even a month after opening we’ve still had people coming in here and saying like, ‘We’re so excited you guys are reopened’ and ‘You know we used to come here with our family’ and ‘We used to come here every day after school.'”
Ally Amory and Emily Walton, fresh out of college, reworked the business model to make it more viable and rebranded to update the community favorite.
Amory’s family owned the bakery for the last few years prior to the pandemic, but it was daughter Ally that stepped up to take ownership and breathe life back into the business.
“We have made some changes kind of to adapt to the new owning a business after COVID,” said Amory. “We do have online ordering setup, which has been great.”
On top of being recent grads, the duo still work second jobs. They’ll be the first to tell you that it’s not always peaches and cream.
“We did have some struggles when we were thinking about reopening the business,” explained Amory. “How are we going to staff the business? Will old customers return? Will they like the product that they used to enjoy before COVID?”
A lot of questions, but not many answers until the actual work started being done. After countless hours dedicated to tasks behind the scenes, they finally were able to open their doors to anxiously waiting returning and new customers.
It was enough to let them feel that the work so far was worth it. To any young or new entrepreneurs looking to chase their dream, this duo says it’s tough, but you won’t regret it.
“It was so hard after being stuck in the house. Put yourself out there and try something new that you never thought you could do before.”
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