The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update

Best of Madison County 2014

February 25, 2014

Three generations work magic at Deluxe Donuts

ANDERSON, Ind. — For as long as Lee Pancol can remember, there have been doughnuts on his plate. Pancol was born about the same time his family first established their Anderson doughnut shop. Deluxe Donuts is still serving them up 364 days a year, 24 hours a day.

“Everything’s made fresh daily here — all made from scratch daily,” said Pancol. He’s also quick to point out the large variety of doughnuts Deluxe offers.

It was 45 years ago when Pancol’s mom and dad, Tula and Jim, launched what was then the Dunkin’ Donuts franchise in Anderson. The couple headed out to Massachusetts to attend corporate training.

“Mom was pregnant with me then,” said Pancol. “They came back and opened the store. That was January 1969.”

Jim and Tula established a shop that would become known for its hole-in-the-middle confections. Pancol proudly notes they were named the franchise's best in the Midwest for 25 years.

At age 12, Pancol started mixing up cookies and brownies. He moved up to doing frostings and icings. Later, he started working the counter. He started baking at age 16.

“I’ve been doing it ever since,” said Pancol, who stops to chat while the dough is rising.

Pancol and his sister, Doreen, bought the business from their parents about 15 years ago. Parting ways with the corporate franchise, they established the shop as Deluxe Donuts.

Family is still key to the non-stop operation among its staff of 15. Pancol’s niece, Stephanie, is the shop’s manager. His son, Andrew, 17, finishes donuts and works with customers.

Pancol’s daughter, Alexis, turns 10 next month. “We’re showing her the ropes,” Pancol said.

Pancol’s dad still works about four days a week, and mom lends a hand during the holidays.

The customers are a little like family, too.

“We established a great clientele,” said Pancol, appreciative of his loyal customers. “From the day we opened, there’s been a group of guys that comes in every day.”

He looks over to the counter and, sure enough, there’s Joe Jackson of Anderson.

“It’s kind of like our second home,” confirmed Jackson.

There’s a reason for that.

“They have good donuts. They’re not expensive," Jackson said. "They have a counter that’s circular and it makes it easy to talk to people.”

Jackson has been claiming a spot at the counter for decades, along with his buddies, Jerry, Danny, Frank and Harold. Jackson, retired now, taught at Highland High School and coached football and basketball. He enjoys his almost daily get-togethers at Deluxe Donuts with his friends, mostly other retired professionals.

“Our over-the-hill gang meets here all the time. ... We mostly talk about old times, the current government or the lack of government ... solve world problems.”

Jackson’s favorite Deluxe doughnut is the Dutch Crunch.

“It’s just a donut with crunches all over. I don’t know if the Dutch make it, but Lee does,” said Jackson. He had to admit, however, “They’re all good.”

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Best of Madison County 2014
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