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Varsity’s First Birthday Party

Has it really been almost two months since our birthday? Time sure flies. Kinda like the way our entire first year of  business flew past us! Thanks so much, everyone, for showing us such wonderful and continued support. It’s been a crazy fun year of serving donuts, going on bicycle rides, playing ping pong and Scrabble, and doing the hundred other wacky things that the Manhattan community has allowed us to do. We sure are lucky.

To celebrate the big day on September 22, we gathered in Aggieville’s Triangle Park and invited everyone over for a donut (or two) on us. Thanks to everyone that joined in! It was a really lovely morning, complete with a giant donut cake, a pinata, games, and tandem bike rides. The perfect way to ring in another year.

What's a 1-year-old's birthday party without a pinata?

Assembling the giant donut cake.

Free donuts for everyone!

Party time.

Gettin' closer...

This guy means business.

Jackpot.

Sack races!

Three-legged races!

The shirt pretty much sums it up: thank you so much!  And, as always, let us know what you’d like to see from Varsity Donuts in our second year… we just want to make you happy!

Varsity’s Turning One!

It’s our first birthday, and we want to thank you for supporting us through a really fun (and slightly crazy) first year.  Stop by Saturday morning to celebrate with us… free donuts for everyone!

Then, we’re kicking off late-night at The Varsity Truck in the back alley from 10pm – 2:30am. Fresh, hot, and free donuts all night!

Get excited…

Something’s cooking in the back alley… and it’s not just donuts.  Stay tuned to our Facebook and Twitter for updates!

Varsity Donuts Status Update

Well, we’ve officially been supplying donuts to the Manhattan community for almost four months now, and we’ve been having a blast. From our early bird 5:30 am regulars to the lines down the sidewalk on Wildcat game days; from calm, relaxing Sunday evenings to energetic crowds and intense ping pong battles on Friday nights, it’s been a crazy ride. We’ve served up more than a few donuts and cups of coffee, had some nice chats over the handlebars of bicycles, and met some really cool folks, all while on our mission to prove that donuts make people happy.

Game Day! The line actually moves pretty quickly... honest.

Donuts coming out of our ears (or: Donuts on the brain)

By now, you’re probably familiar with our half-baked (or fully fried?) theory that donuts make people happy. As it turns out, maybe it’s not so crazy, after all. 

Hot and fresh honeymooners awaiting their raspberry or vanilla cream filling.

If you stay and hang out with us for awhile, you can sip coffee from a Varsity mug... for just a dollar.

While we’re certainly firm supporters of healthy, active lifestyles, we’re also believers in enjoying everything in moderation. Because sometimes, there’s nothing better than sinking your sweet tooth into a fluffy donut oozing with frosting. You know you wanna.

Putting the finishing touches to the super popular maple bacon donut.

The Smore donut, filled with marshmallow fluff and topped with chocolate frosting and graham cracker crumbs.

Community clubhouse (no secret password required)

Probably our favorite part of the last four months, besides the spreading of good cheer through fat ‘n fluffy donuts, has been hosting so many different folks in our little shop. We’ve had birthday parties (complete with donut decorating activities for the kiddos), morning coffee groups, ping pong masters (and aspiring champions), musicians, and even a few celebrities hang out with us.

We used this extra-special clown-inspired donut as a lure…

The "Fizbo": a vanilla cream-filled donut hole on a chocolate-frosted Honeymooner.

…to get Modern Family‘s Eric Stonestreet to stop by.

What a cool guy and great supporter of K-State and Manhattan.

Seems like the big communal table’s always got a lively discussion happening across it, or, you know, the K-State drum line practicing their game day pieces on it. Thank goodness they use their hands and not drumsticks… otherwise, we’d have had to refinish that table more than just once since we opened. From Christmas carolers to knitting clubs, and from early bird coffee drinkers to night owl studiers, there always seems to be an interesting crowd at this little donut shop.

Friendly game of Scrabble... and dominoes.

Future Varsity employees... already practicing their donut decorating skills.

A donut shop with a bicycle problem

If the bicycles in the windows and the spokes in our chandeliers haven’t given it away, maybe the collection of tandems and old Schwinn’s for rent has: we’re sort of cycle-crazy.  Thanks to the fantastic fall and unseasonably warm winter we’ve enjoyed thus far (knock on wood, somebody!), we’ve had the pleasure of sharing our vintage bikes with quite a few folks.  Whether it was a newly married couple riding away from their ceremony or a mom and daughter enjoying a warm Sunday afternoon, these old bikes are finally seeing some miles again.

Our good old tandem bike never looked so classy.

Eager for a chance to meet some new friends over a set of handlebars, we organized an autumn bike ride on a day that, unfortunately, turned pretty blustery, so we don’t blame you for not joining us.  We’ll definitely have some fun, social rides this year, though, so keep an eye out for ‘em.  As we mentioned in an earlier post, Manhattan is quickly becoming an even more cycle-friendly community, and we should all celebrate that together.

This cute pair rented a tandem for the afternoon.

Donut-shaped learning curve

Remember the old days, when we had to close the shop early because we ran out of donuts? Or when we only had one iPad cash register to face the Saturday morning game day crowd? How about when we started out with just ten employees and then more than doubled that in the first four days (often hiring staffers on the spot, in our exasperation)? Well, we sure do. And boy, have we learned a LOT since then...

Sidewalk serenade.

We’re still learning, of course, and we owe you all a big “THANK YOU!” for sticking with us, offering kind encouragement and thoughtful advice, and eatin’ some donuts. The support Varsity’s seen from the community has been nothing short of overwhelming, and we sure do appreciate it.

Lots of hungry folks.

So what’s next?

Donuts, of course! We just rolled out a few new varieties and retired some seasonal ones to make room in the case (don’t worry, the S’more will make a triumphant return later this year!). Check out the new pistachio donut, and tell us what you think.

One of our latest creations... the pistachio donut.

Also, in the spirit of the donut’s savory cousin, the bagel, we’ve introduced the “Everything” donut, which is a kaleidoscope of crazy, colorful toppings loaned from our other donuts.  We’ll unveil more tasty new creations in a couple of weeks, so stay tuned (spoiler alert: pretzels + mixed nuts + caramel = heaven).

Our take on the everything bagel... only much, much more delicious.

On the social calendar, we’re nearing the kickoff of our first (of many) Scrabble tournament.  For $3, you can flex your vocab muscles for a chance to win cash and prizes.  It’ll be an ongoing tourney throughout the month of February, where we set up the bracket and you make a Scrabble date with your partner at your convenience (within a given time frame, of course).  The deadline to sign up is Wednesday, January 25, and you can stop by the shop for more details.

We’ll also be setting up the ping pong table more often this year, playing some BINGO, and servin’ donuts late at night.  That’s right, you’ll soon be able to get your donut fix in the middle of the night. Get excited.

Keep watching our Facebook and Twitter for updates on all the crazy fun stunts we’re going to pull and all the crazy delicious donuts we’re going to sling. And, as always, please give us your suggestions for what you’d like to see or do at Varsity Donuts… we just want to make you happy.

Hey, we’re finally open!

Well, we tried to keep it kinda quiet, but somehow, the word got out that we opened at 5:30 this morning. True to our promise, we opened up in summer 2011 (on the last day of summer, but still…), and we couldn’t have asked for a better show of support from the Manhattan community. A big thanks to everyone that came down for a donut or two (or a dozen!).

There were even some crazy donut fans camped out on our sidewalk starting at midnight. What a great group of people!

When the doors finally opened at 5:30, the donuts starting disappearing off our shelves rather quickly…

Our donut resources were exhausted by 5 pm, and we closed our doors to start makin’ some more. We’ll eventually be open all day long, but we’ve still got some practicing to do! Thanks again to everyone for making our first day amazing, and we’ll have some more donuts ready to go bright and early at 5:30 am.

Our rental fleet is growing!

We’d like to take a brief break from talking about donuts (don’t worry, they’re still coming!) to let you in on something else we think makes people happy: bicycles.  Donuts and bikes, bikes and donuts.  They go hand in hand, right? We think so, at least, and that’s why Varsity Donuts patrons will also have the opportunity to rent vintage bicycles from us.

Our namesake bike in the window... the Schwinn Varsity.

The bicycles that make up our rental fleet have seen a lot of miles over the years, so we’ve had to show them quite a bit of TLC to get ‘em ready to be enjoyed once again. Our buddies down at Big Poppi Bicycle Co. have been helping us out with that, in exchange for a few donuts.  Sometimes it’s a tough job to diagnose what ails these classic bikes… but the Big Poppi folks have done a great job. Thanks, guys!

Big Poppi bike doctors.

We’re planning to offer a variety of bicycles to exercise off those donuts: men’s, women’s, and tandems. Each of our bikes will have a basket on the front, so you can take your donuts and coffee with you down to City Park for an impromptu picnic.  You can rent one for an hour, an afternoon, a whole day… we even recently rented out a tandem bike to a sweet couple that rode away on it after their wedding ceremony.  So cool.

A dozen donuts + two cups of coffee + a bicycle built for two = best date ever.
Schwinn Racer.

These cool old bicycle license plates will add a little more character to each of our rentals. You’ll be able to ask for your favorite bike by name.

Wanna ride the “Aggie”, anyone?

We’re so cycle-crazy, we’re even going to deliver hot & fresh donuts and coffee on this sweet delivery bike.  Can’t wait to “pedal” our donuts all over town.

Manhattan is making huge strides in becoming more of a bicycle-friendly community, and, as proud pedalers ourselves, we hope to support that in any way we can. One step in that direction is our goal to eventually get a few bike racks installed on the sidewalk near the shop. There was a whole fleet of bicycles parked out in front of Varsity for a private Bike Manhattan event last month, and it made us pretty happy.  You can read up on more of what the city’s doing for cyclists at http://www.ci.manhattan.ks.us/index.aspx?NID=1070. You can also check out the local bike shops we’re lucky enough to have around here, The Pathfinder and Big Poppi Bicycle Co.

Whether you want to ride your own bike down to the shop or borrow one of ours, we look forward to adding a little something to the Manhattan bicycle scene and to the community as a whole. Oh yeah, and we’re going to have donuts, too. More on that later…

Getting closer, folks…

Boy, who woulda thought it’d take so long to open a donut shop?! No worries, though, we’re still forging ahead in a cloud of flour and sawdust (not at the same time). Stay tuned… and we’ll get back to work.