The only thing that gets 24-year-old UF master’s student Alex Powell out of bed Wednesday mornings is the promise of a maple glazed doughnut from Halo Potato. Her cat Robbie can paw at her head as much as he wants; she doesn’t get up until she remembers the doughnut awaiting her.
Powell has been in Gainesville doing her master’s in English for two years now. When she started her program, the coursework was harder than she expected, and there wasn’t the sense of community that she had loved in her undergraduate years.
“I think my first friend here in Gainesville was that maple glazed doughnut,” she said. “My adviser wanted to meet with me and suggested Halo, and since then, I’ve been going once a week for my doughnut. I’m a creature of habit.”
Powell will have to get her doughnut fix elsewhere now, because Halo Potato Donuts owners Drew and Leah Stuerman announced the closure of all three shop locations Nov. 27. The stores were closing because sales weren’t enough to cover the cost of operations, Stuerman said.
“We want to thank the people of Gainesville for being so supportive over the last six years,” Leah Stuerman said. “This last week will be a celebration of memories and good times shared here.”
The company opened three locations over the past six years, Tower Road, Jonesville and Hunter’s Walk, all of which had their last day Dec. 3.
The three locations were a far cry from the company’s origins. The concept for Halo Potato was born in Drew Stuerman’s apartment when he was getting his bachelor’s in business administration.
“In my senior year at the University of Florida, it became very clear that I needed to start my own business,” he said, “but I needed to find an opportunity.”
Despite having no experience with doughnuts besides enjoying them, Stuerman plunged into their sugary sweet world with just a fryer, mixer and hard work. After a business competition at UF, he switched gears and launched a food truck.
“Having that food truck set us apart,” he said. “It’s a driving billboard.”
The mobile marketing of a food truck gave Halo an advantage, but Stuerman said his company was bolstered mainly by the people of Gainesville.
“Gainesville was the perfect place to start a business,” he said. “This community loves local, small businesses.”
Although the Halo Potato Donuts locations are closing, Stuerman hopes that Gainesville will show other local businesses the support and appreciation that they showed Halo.
Contact Bea Lunardini at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @bealunardini.