[Danger. Intrigue. Doughnuts.] A from-scratch, funky, gourmet doughnut shop, open all day and night.

What's the big idea?

Need a special treat? Craving something sweet, but still made with whole, quality ingredients? Find yourself downtown late at night with nothing to do? Want to impress your out-of-town friends with a wild and delicious bit of local-food color?

Propaganda Doughnuts:
We are now your dessert.

Propaganda Doughnuts will be a locally focused, community-oriented gourmet doughnut shop, open in the morning for breakfast and brunch stops, and until after the bars close, when you need one last hit before you head home. Creative flavors from local and seasonal ingredients. Danger. Intrigue. Doughnuts.

Describe the nearest player in your field.

Doughnuts are, of course, available all over—Meijer, Family Fare, and both Marge’s and Sandy’s Donuts, which are in the suburbs of Grand Rapids.
Additionally, considering downtown snacks and late-night food, there are options for all sorts of junk food and drunk food: hot dogs, tacos, pizza, etc.

How are you different from that player?

No bakery in the area is makes doughnuts entirely from scratch- every product available is either pre-made or from a mix.
No bakery is open late.
No bakery has yet caught on to the nation-wide trend of funky, gourmet, locally source doughnuts.
Best of all, nobody else has spies and secret agents.

How does this idea scale into a big business?

This idea can expand extremely easily, using the original location as a hub, and opening pop-up stands at events, opening a Propaganda Doughnuts food truck, and opening satellite locations in other areas of Michigan that are working on building a local food community like ours, like Detroit.

Why are you the one to run with this idea?

Working as The Starving Artist- one of GR’s foremost locavore private chefs- I’ve gotten extremely involved in furthering the local food scene. My culinary background will keep the product well-made and creative, and the fun spy-themed twist on the design will keep the marketing exciting.

What is a $5,000 experiment you can do to move your idea forward?

I plan on using the experimental money to run a couple of pop-up “doughnut shops” before the actual location would open, building interest, testing recipes, and getting a feel on the legitimate public interest in such an offering in the downtown area.

There have been 29 replies to this page

  1. Catherine Marlett Dreher

    I have been extremely fortunate to have had the opportunity to taste many of The Starving Artist’s culinary creations.  His knowledge of food, his dedication to fresh, local ingredients, and his mind-boggling(and I mean truly mind-boggling) creativity make him the perfect chef for something as fun, funky, urban and gourmet as Propaganda Donuts.  I have eaten some darn tasty donuts in Grand Rapids, but these are in a league entirely of their own.

  2. Patty O'Haire

    Propaganda Donuts is a reflection Torrence’s dedication to the pursuit of all things wonderful in the kitchen and in life.
    As delicious and beautiful as possible every time.

  3. Noddea Moore Skidmore

    Plain and simple, Tory knows his stuff. Propaganda Donuts will be a crazy success, and obvs, Start Garden should be a part of the initial success. Knowing Tory personally, as well as knowing the drive behind what he creates, he’s someone that can take the initial $5K from SG and truly do something with it that will serve as not just a business experiment, but will benefit the community at the same time.

    I’ve had no other doughnut on the face of the planet that tastes like these do. And let’s face it,  I know my sweets. This is a good investment. Public: unite! Endorse! Fund! It’ll be worth it. Promise.

  4. Molly Clauhs

    I can’t wait for Propaganda Doughnuts. Going to be so delicious and a creative, needed addition to GR food culture.

  5. Kristen Bergers Fauson

    Propaganda Doughnuts would be such a welcome addition to the Grand Rapids food scene. Everything Tory makes is so ridiculously good, this place is sure to be a gold mine. He’s got a successful business going with The Starving Artist, so he has the business acumen to make this adventure really work. This is definitely an idea worth funding!

  6. Diana Krupiczewicz

    Grand Rapids could use a place that is open late nights & that provides sweet treats. I am ALL for it!

  7. Peggy Rowland Leven

    Like VooDoo Doughnuts in Portland, OR?  Awesome!

  8. Emeline Tolod-Kemp

    I’ve always said someone should do this!  I would be your #1 customer!  Great idea!!!

  9. Mary Heather Missad

    I can’t think of a more deserving fella.  Tory has really committed to his work and his presence in our community.  Moreover,  Prop D is a particularly outstanding idea.

  10. Dawn Highhouse

    A fantastic idea. While there are grocery store doughnuts, and custom bakeries open only in the morning, we don’t have anything like this in our city - let alone in our very busy downtown area.

  11. Kristin Suddreth Nipke

    Tory’s food is seriously amazing! His unique culinary creations are like deletable adventures!  His charisma and “think outside for the box” drive are perfect components for a successful business! I’d invest in this!

  12. Janet Van Horn

    I would love a really good doughnut from scratch (I’m not very good at making it). We have soy allergies in our family and we love doughnuts. Its very hard to find a doughnut that doesn’t contain soy. Unless you make it from scratch . I totally support this idea!

  13. Jeff Dundas

    Life can be pretty sour sometimes. I’m all for endeavors that strive to make it “sweeter.”

  14. Sandra Ponsetto

    Propaganda Doughnuts will give Grand Rapids a taste of adventure. Tory’s food is always a cut above the ordinary. I have a feeling once Grand Rapidians sink their teeth into one of his made from scratch creations they will never again be satisfied with pre-fab and mass market doughnuts.

  15. Michelle Burke

    Late night doughnuts? Yes, please! Tory’s work has already helped make the GR food scene exciting, and this will be another great addition to our cool city.

  16. Brendan Van Stee

    Its time for Grand Rapids to show its Big City appeal.  Propaganda Doughnuts will only add to that appeal!!!  Can’t wait to make my late night trip!

  17. Laurie McMahon Summerfield

    Oh my goodness.  These are two of my favorite things.  Tory and donuts.  I gave donuts up after I lost weight in 1993.  I will never give up Tory!  Never wanted another donut.  But now….. not a chance.  If there’s anyone who can make a delicious donut, probably even have some with veggies with it, it’s Tory.  Smart guy.  A chef that’s been trained in all parts of the world.  Prop Donuts for me please.

  18. Daniela Iñiguez

    Can’t think of anybody more deserving and deliciously talented!

  19. Michael Shane Miller

    I had this idea the other day, please contact me and lets talk donuts!

  20. Ray Brown

    I’ve recently started making donuts for friends and family, and they’re a big hit. Two weeks ago, I made ten dozen donuts just to satiate their hunger. There’s obviously a demand for sweet treats within my circle of friends, and within Grand Rapids in general. Keep it open late night and suddenly you’ve got the bar and college crowd. That could be huge! Oddly enough, I’m not the biggest sweet tooth - but I’m still very interested in this idea and I hope to see Propaganda open up sometime soon.

  21. Deb Cleland

    Grand Rapids is ready for this concept - and Tory is the man to make it happen. High quality is the only product he knows how to deliver - from MOTH stories to creative cocktails, delicious dinners to made from scratch donuts. Makes perfect sense to me, D’oh!

  22. Chris Roe

    I just happened to see this on GR now, and I just want to say that I have been expressing the need for a doughnut shop in downtown GR for years. It would make so much sense, and the after-bar concept is so familiar to what my friends and I experience in Chicago. I do hope you will find the support for this project.

  23. Ella Swift

    This is such a win-win. Tory is the most overly-talented and ingenious chef I know. What he will do with doughnuts will be spectacular on a national level: Food Network, you should be voting for this. He’s your next great find. And our city’s greatest foodie treasure. Ever.

  24. Larry Young

    This is a great idea that will be executed flawlessly by Tory O’Haire!  I have had the privilege of working with The Starving Artist and his food quality and expertise are unmatched.  Not to mention, who doesn’t want a made from scratch late night doughnut?!!!!

  25. Clayton Stedman

    My friends and I would absolutely crush some Propaganda Doughnuts after/during a night out. Late night pastries are a fantastic idea. Sounds delicious, can’t wait.

  26. Santiago Anaya Gayton

    You had me at late night doughnut.  Reminds me of Gourdoughs in Austin, TX

  27. Danielle Mulvena

    Doughnuts are one of Tory’s favorite foods.  His eyes light up when you mention doughnuts.  He keeps secret stashes of doughnuts in his freezer from faraway lands. It is passion like that that makes businesses work.  It will be so great for those obsessive doughnut lovers in Grand Rapids who keep secret stashes of doughnuts from faraway places to get the doughnuts of their dreams right in their backyard - fresh and unforgettable. Tory is going to make Grand Rapids ‘nuts ... I can’t wait ... even if I am now from a faraway land.

  28. Bobby Joslin

    Great idea Tory, and well thought through. We don’t know each other that well, but I do know you are passionate and driven, match that with a great idea, and BOOM you have a new successful start up company. Give him the money! I want delicious late night doughnuts! Shop local, be local. Pure Michigan.

  29. Sandra Ponsetto

    I can never find French crullers in doughnut shops these days. Please endorse Tory’s idea so I can get my fix.

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