Handcrafted donuts prove to be popular product for food entrepreneurs

“Do or donut; there is no try.” Or something like that.

When Via Reyes moved to PEI from the Philippines in 2013, she noticed that local dessert options were limited. With the help of her partner, Justin Wilson, she set out to change the Island’s dessert culture for the better.

Mellow Dough is one of a select few businesses in PEI who are making handcrafted donuts. But what makes a handcrafted donut different from the traditional dense, cakey donuts offered by the big coffee and donut chains?

“Love and attention,” said Reyes, co-founder of Mellow Dough. “The process in making a single yeast-raised donut is long and meticulous. Our dough is made fresh from scratch, hand-rolled and hand-cut, and left to rise for at least eight hours before frying.”

Via Reyes and Justin Wilson, co-founders of Mellow Dough submitted photo

Reyes and Wilson only prepare one small batch at a time. Their attention to detail is what allows them to provide fully-customized flavours that will make all sorts of donut lovers excited.

Mellow Dough sold their traditional flavors at the Queen Street Market this summer, including chocolate dip, strawberry sprinkle, matcha, and Oreo. However, Reyes and Wilson enjoy experimenting with new flavors at their customers’ request. The end result: custom fluffy gourmet deliciousness.

Mellow Dough’s inception was certainly unconventional; Reyes credits social media and its power to connect total strangers.

In January of this year, Jenna Keenan, founder of Vegabun PEI, reached out to Reyes on Instagram. As their friendship developed, they discovered a mutual interest in food business.

“I always had the thought, but Jenna inspired me to take the leap,” Reyes said. Keenan was equally inspired to start her own venture, Vegabun. “We offer quality cinnamon buns that happen to be vegan,” Keenan said.

Over the next six months, Reyes and Wilson, in partnership with Keenan and her husband Mitch Malboeuf, spent many weekends recipe testing and preparing their businesses for market.

Mellow Dough may be a product of Reyes’ creativity and ambition, but Wilson plays an integral role in its ongoing success. “My education is in business and accounting, so I handle our bookkeeping and business planning. I also help prepare and deliver the donuts,” Wilson said.

According to Reyes, Mellow Dough would not exist without Wilson’s moral and financial commitment.

So, what’s next for Mellow Dough? The story is almost as sweet as their donuts.

The couple is getting married next year, and hope to open a Mellow Dough shop in Charlottetown by the end of 2019.
With the Queen Street Market wrapped up for another year, Reyes and Wilson look forward to serving their customers through email and social media over the winter months. They have been receiving orders for birthday parties, local events, and everything in between.

Should you be looking to satisfy your sweet tooth, Mellow Dough may just be the company to call. Minimum custom orders are one dozen donuts, the perfect amount to share with your family and friends (maybe!).

About Kyle Gillis

Kyle is an advisor with Sun Life Financial in Charlottetown. He is a self-proclaimed poutine connoisseur with a strongly supported argument for pairing Pepsi with most meals. When he is not dishing up advice on retirement planning and income protection, he can more than likely be found on the nearest patio with a Radler and friends.

View All Posts