Thursday, May 23, 2013

Voodoo Doughnut coming to Colfax!

by Michael Russell

     Voodoo Doughnut, downtown Portland's 24-hour doughnut shop, tourist attraction and purveyor of good things in pink boxes, is expanding to Colorado.
     Co-owners Kenneth "Cat Daddy" Pogson and Tres Shannon have been flying back and forth from Denver, talking with tourism boosters and city officials there while scouting out storefronts. They recently signed a lease on a space approximately the size of Voodoo Doughnut Too, the store's Northeast Portland location.
     "It's on East Colfax, this great gritty avenue, which used to be really, really scary and sleazy," Shannon says. "It's kind of like being on Burnside. There's a dentist nearby and a wonderful ... lesbian bar with a pink pool table, the same color as our boxes. That's a good sign. And there's a tattoo parlor and then a medical marijuana dispensary. It's kind of like one-stop shopping."
     Denver will be the first Voodoo outside of Oregon and the fourth location overall, including the original, at 22 S.W. Third Ave.; Voodoo Doughnut Too, 1501 N.E. Davis St.; and a store in Eugene.
     "People keep asking me, 'Why Denver? Why not New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, the big fish?'" Shannon says. "We've always been very cautious. All of those places might be down the line. For now, Denver is a pretty great start. It's got a young population. It's health-oriented, sort of like Portland -- ironic, since we sell doughnuts. But everybody likes doughnuts."
     Circumstances also lined up in Denver's favor. The city offered Voodoo tax credits if it eventually hires more than 35 employees, applicable retroactively. And a homesick Voodoo Too manager from Colorado agreed to run the Denver store.
     "We haven't introduced ourselves to the dentist yet," Shannon says. "Hopefully we can do something together. 'No cavities, here's a coupon for a free doughnut.'"
     Back in Portland, Shannon and Cat Daddy are gearing up for the original store's 10th-anniversary bash, a "thank you Portland" party with live music, T-shirt giveaways and two golden tickets granting free Voodoo doughnuts for life. Check back for more details about that event next week.
     "We opened 10 years ago, in the middle of Krispy Kreme coming -- we beat that with 'eat local doughnuts' -- and then the trans-fat scare and the economy tanking," Shannon says. "Doughnuts were 85 cents. We've raised them to 95 cents, but we still strive to keep doughnuts under a dollar. It's still something every man can afford. You can buy a doughnut and a cup of coffee and still play a song on the jukebox at Voodoo Too."

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