Hole in One Donut Shop

August 23, 2010

The main part of the Roots Workshop is that each student is given an assignment to document a local business for two days. They vary from an ice cream parlor to a local fisherman to a sailing school to a local airport – very diverse and fun to learn about.

My assignment was the Hole in One Donut Shop in Eastham. It’s a family owned business and one of the few places that still hand cuts their donuts – very rare in the age of standardization and mechanization. Family members are sprinkled throughout the business – some up front helping customers, others out back making the donuts, and a few in the restaurant that connects to the donut shop.
The business was such a perfect fit for me – I love nothing more than getting to know people and documenting their relationships. A few years ago I wrote a mission statement for Orchard Cove as part of a workshop which reads: “I value family and relationships above everything else and seek to establish a rapport with my clients and provide them with images of their connections.”
The assignment was open ended and I was charged with figuring out “the story” at the donut shop. The first day I observed a lot: would it be the fact that the donuts were hand cut? The fact that there’s usually a line out the door? The fact that it’s family owned and operated?
Instead I realized that the real story is the people – starting when the donut shop opens at 4:30 (it truly opens at 5 but regulars started coming earlier so they let them in and it stuck!) just about every hour there is a new batch of regulars sitting at the counter – discussing life and business on the Cape. They all welcomed me with curiosity and just couldn’t have been nicer.
More comments to come but for now onto the pictures!
The first day I showed up mid morning to ease myself in – the place was hopping so I stayed mostly in the front of house and tried to stay out of people’s way as I got my bearings.

The regulars and I started chatting and she showed me this “fan” made out of old fishing supplies.

One of my favorites and an early snap…..wishing him a happy birthday πŸ™‚

Now we can’t forget about the donuts. They are made every night from 3 or 4 – 11. In the morning someone comes in to continue the glazing and filling. YUM.

Loved the action in this one.


Still hopping mid morning.

A recent piece of artwork from a fan πŸ™‚

The unofficial mayor of Eastham was nice enough to chat with me and tell me what was what – everyone knows him and he pretty much makes a daily appearance!

I like this more serious portrait of one of the regulars.

Who knew that this is how donuts (or cupcakes) get filled!

That afternoon I stuck around and hung out with the two sisters who are in charge of making all the donuts and muffins for both locations (there is another in Orleans)

As I said everything is done by hand – they are amazing to watch….no recipes around – everything is in their head and the amount they make is based on demand from the previous few years, the weather, and traffic that week- it’s pretty cool to see how accurate their estimates are (i.e. how few are left over!)

The fryer is busy πŸ™‚

The donuts are hand turned for each batch – like a well choreographed symphony to watch she does it so quickly!

One of my favorite images

The ladies were so fun to be around and we chatted all afternoon and into the evening

Their Dad stopped by and although he wasn’t crazy about getting his picture taken he consented πŸ™‚ The daughters and their uncle also stopped by – it seemed that every time someone new came in they were related!

Saying goodnight πŸ™‚


More glazed deliciousness πŸ™‚

The next morning I wanted to catch the early crowd so got there around 4:30….sure enough there were already many people there!

Each of the regulars has their own mug and they barely have to sit down before coffee their way is placed in front of them!

The sun warming the building before it gets HOT!

The matriarch of the family (who had an adorable Golden) chats with some friends

Each day they write a trivia question on the board

The 2nd day I went behind the counter – it’s close quarters so I tried to stay out of the way but knew I wanted to catch some kids through the glass – most of the time they show up in their PJs and it’s clearly a tradition for many.

I like this series πŸ™‚

This cracks me up too….the wife came in about 30 seconds after her Husband who was turning on the charm with these ladies!

It’s rare that non regulars sit at the counter (most prefer outside where there are benches) but this little girl showed up during the morning and I couldn’t resist – she was so stinking adorable!

A lot of the little ones eat their donuts this way…most efficient way to get at the frosting I guess πŸ™‚

Pure delight!

I liked the contrast here between the little one and the teenager texting πŸ™‚

Awe at the deliciousness πŸ™‚

“Dream Boat” mug πŸ™‚

Another sister πŸ™‚

A parting shot of the old and weathered sign.

I can’t say enough nice things about the people I met during my time at the Hole in One – both employees and customers. Thank you so much for accepting me and allowing me to document your days!

On the final night we presented our slideshows from the week (roughly 20 images) to our classmates after a Lobsterbake under the stars….it is pretty picturesque! Thanks to Ian Riley for this photo

My final slideshow:

You can see all of the final slideshows HERE

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