SAINT JOHN– Melissa Whiting is bringing a classic treat to classic place in uptown Saint John.
Whiting is the owner of Uptown Donuts, a gourmet donut shopping opening soon in the historic Saint John City Market.
Whiting is no stranger to the entrepreneurial life, having run her own aesthetician business out of her home in Grand Bay for years. But after finding the profession hard on her back, she decided to turn to her other passion: baking.
“I always baked fancy cookies and all that kind of stuff. I couldn’t do the aesthetics anymore from being hunched over, it’s a little hard on the back,” says Whiting. “There was a bakery for sale in my community, so I and a partner looked into purchasing it. About nine months in, the deal fell through so I thought this was a great opportunity for me to branch out and do something on my own.”
While the bakery she was looking at purchasing was strictly traditional, Whitley realized starting her own business could allow her more freedom to be creative with her offerings. With help and guidance from Enterprise Saint John’s Venture Validation program, Whiting learned there was a market for creative, gourmet treats in the city.
“I think I always had an entrepreneurial spirit. I’ve always worked for myself from home, but I was kind of over being at home all the time,” says Whiting. “I just thought the City Market has been here and it’s a classic place and the donut is a classic dessert, so it might be a good pairing.”
Uptown Donuts will offer “classic” doughnuts such has plain, sugar, and chocolate dipped. The rest of the offerings, however, will be far from the ordinary.
“I am going to up it a little bit with these really fun, gourmet donuts with things like edible cookie dough and oreo and maple bacon, and all that sort of fun and creative stuff,” she says.
Whiting gets her inspiration for her donut creations from Instagram, where she follows other gourmet donut shops in Los Angeles and other big cities.
“They have some really crazy donuts,” she says. “I think it’s so fun and why not try that here?”
Gourmet donuts have become a trend in the food world, even in New Brunswick with a shop opening in Fredericton this past fall. Though they are trendy, Whiting believes it is and will remain a classic treat.
“The donut has been around since [the 1800s], and it’s stuck. I think it’s always been here and it’s always going to be here. People can do whatever they want with it and be trendy with it and maybe it will go away, but it’s still going to be a classic thing,” she says.
“I talk to people who get emotional when they talk about donuts because their grandmother used to make them or their mother used to make them and it brings up emotions in people. Maybe it’s just a fun thing that’s happening right now, but I think that it might last.”
Plans to open sometime this week. An official announcement will be made on the Uptown Donuts Facebook Page.