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The Doughnut Whisperer opens first store in Chester city centre

Cheshire West and Chester Growth Hub Start Up 14/12/2021

The vegan doughnut company set up during lockdown

A vegan doughnut company set up during lockdown has opened its first store in Chester city centre.

The Doughnut Whisperer was set up by Chester-based acting couple Claire Cooper and Emmett Scanlan with local baker Stephanie Reid.

Since opening in spring, the business has gone from strength to strength and was even awarded best vegan doughnut at the PETA Vegan Food Awards.

Previously, customers were able to buy doughnuts through their website or at store on Minerva Avenue but only via pre-arrangement.

Now though the business has opened a new shop at Rufus Court, which will be serving freshly baked doughnuts for customers to drop in and buy.

Claire Cooper, co-founder of the Doughnut Whisperer said “We always dreamed of opening up a small drop in shop, somewhere cosy and inviting, a place where you can swing by & stock up on your doughnuts for the weekend so it’s great to have achieved that dream.

“It's a great spot as there is a real buzz at the top of town and with a communal eating area outside in the courtyard - it's perfect and is quickly becoming a vegan hotspot.

“We’re a local and Chester homegrown business and we know how much people here love new inviting spots offering quality, tasty treats and we can’t wait to serve them.”

When the business was launched it was provided with business start-up support by Cheshire and Warrington Growth Hub. They introduced The Doughnut Whisperer to the NowFooD centre at the University of Chester and local food and drink experts Taste Cheshire. The Growth Hub also advised the business about the Kickstart scheme.

Claire said: “Like all new businesses we have had to find our groove and there are always complications along the way, but we’re proud to have overcome any that have presented themselves. The most difficult has been navigating through the pandemic – which has been a major curveball for everyone – but the support from our customers has been incredible.

“The Growth Hub helped us connect with some many different people – people that didn’t know we existed – but thanks to their support do now.”

Andy Devaney, Business Innovation Director at Cheshire and Warrington Growth Hub, said: “It is great to see the journey of The Doughnut Whisperer and the recognition and growth they have achieved within their first year despite such tough trading conditions.

“I’d encourage any start-up business to reach out to the Growth Hub, we have an expert team of advisors who can help you access a range of support that can help early stage businesses including business-planning, finance and recruitment support.

“I’m sure this shop will be a welcome new addition to the city centre and look forward to seeing the business continue to grow and thrive.”

The business isn’t resting on its laurels and has more planned for the future.

Claire said: “It’s been so busy – since we launched our nationwide delivery service in the autumn we’ve had a phenomenal response and can’t make doughnuts quick enough. There will definitely be expansion and we also have plans for Veganuary and are looking at a mum/ dad and baby morning.”

The new shop is serving a full range of vegan doughnuts and swirls, whilst the Doughnut Whisperer website will continue to offer nationwide delivery.

The store officially opened on Friday, December 10 and will be open Friday to Sunday from 10.30 am to 3pm.

Find out more about The Doughnut Whisperer here

Find out more about the Growth Hub's business support here