Hailing from the enchanted land of Newberg, a new purveyor of delectable pastries has emerged from the city's fabled academic institution.
George Fox University senior Skylar Rae Atkinson is the owner of Mythical Mini Donuts, a medieval-themed doughnut shop that provides cinnamon sugar discs of doughy goodness to hungry patrons in Newberg and Sherwood.
The business sets up at the Wednesday Market in Newberg and in Sherwood on Saturdays, and is looking to expand its reach to other markets as well.
Atkinson is an entrepreneurship student at GFU. She also studies technical theater and loves medieval history.
"As part of a couple of my classes at GFU, we are assigned to come up with a business idea that we could potentially launch," she said. "Initially, I was thinking about shaved ice or something like that for the summer, but we decided doughnuts were more of a year-round food and went with that. I came up with the idea, wrote out a business plan and drove down to meet a guy in Redding, California, to learn how to run the doughnut machine and set up the business."
Atkinson bought a machine and equipment to make the doughnuts from her doughnut tutor in Redding, then set up shop earlier this year with the help of her family. On their opening day, she and her dad — a silent partner in the business — dressed up in medieval outfits normally reserved for their trips to renaissance fairs.
"I am a sucker for anything medieval," Atkinson said. "One of my other hobbies is making suits of armor and I would always go to renaissance fairs anyway. I thought I should come up with a business to run at those fairs and figured it would be a lot of fun. The doughnuts seemed like something a lot of people would enjoy and the theme came out of my interests."
Atkinson said she hoped she'd be able to take the business to various events around the state, but the COVID-19 pandemic stopped summer events both locally and throughout Oregon. Plans to attend county fairs, festivals and renaissance fairs were halted and now the business operates strictly out of farmers markets with plenty of safety precautions in place.
Atkinson and her father run the shop on a regular basis with help from her mother and a brother on occasion. Her dad's specialty is running the doughnut machine while Atkinson operates the register and focuses on the operations side of things.
Support for the business locally has been strong so far. Atkinson grew up in Newberg and attended Newberg High School before GFU. Friends and neighbors from far and wide have come to indulge in the doughnuts, which include refillable containers if you buy a bucket.
"We've had a lot of support locally from friends and then return customers who came once and loved it," Atkinson said. "A lot of other people from different counties have come specifically to the market just for our doughnuts."
The opening of the business has been a blessing for Atkinson, she said, as the COVID-19 pandemic impacts her job situation like so many others. She will finish up her senior year at GFU next school year and potentially make the jump into entrepreneurship right out of college, if the theater world is still shuttered due to the pandemic.
"I found that I really like being self-sufficient, especially in the situation we're in now," she said. "I lost my job at a theater building because there's no theater happening right now, so it's good to have something else that I can create a job out of. Having my family's help has been great, too."
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