Donut demand drums up dollars for D'Iberville

By Brad Kessie - bio | email

D'IBERVILLE, MS (WLOX) - At 2:30 every morning, Waltman whips up 70 dozen donuts and apple fritters, all by hand.

"It is busy," Waltman explained, painting a picture of what it's like when he's making the initial batches of tasty treats.

With mixers running, and ovens blaring, "It's loud," he said. "There's a lot going on."

A couple of hours later, his wife Brandy shows up, and so does little AJ. The store is named for the precocious toddler. Nobody else is on the payroll. It's just Mom, Dad, and a nearly two year old baby. They've been running AJ's Donuts in D'Iberville for almost a year.

"It's tough at times, but we work hard at it," Waltman said.

Brandy Waltman said she loves owning her own business. Her schedule is flexible. And she's able to test her business skills.

"We know how to get a bang out of your buck," Brandy said.

D'Iberville City Manager Richard Rose noted that the Lamey Bridge Road donut shop is one of about a half dozen new businesses in D'Iberville that recently opened.

"They're willing to take a shot in D'Iberville because they know this is an opportunity location," Rose said.

The Waltmans are selling donuts in a city where sales tax collections in Fiscal Year 2008 were down $376,000. During that same 12 month period, Gulfport sales tax numbers dropped more than $2.4 million. Only Biloxi experienced a sales tax increase between July, 2007 and June, 2008. Waltman isn't concerned.

"Even with the economy, I think a donut is a happy food," he said.

And for now, people seem to be buying happy food. The Waltmans realize the economy could remain stale, and their sweet treats may sour. It's a risk this couple is willing to take, because the upside benefits AJ.

"If we can't succeed now, then we can recover," Waltman said "We've got plenty of years ahead of us. Might as well take a risk now, try it out."