ANDERSON — A large window near the counter at Deluxe Donuts allows customers to see with their own eyes how their favorite treats are created.
The men behind the glass know what they’re doing. The trio of bakers — Mike Allison, Russell Halverson and Daniel Phillips — have a combined 72 years of doughnut-making experience, most of it at the store on North Scatterfield Road that has been a local favorite for decades.
On an average day, Allison, Halverson and Phillips will make more than 1,200 doughnuts. Friday, on National Doughnut Day, they expect to make three or four times that amount. The store plans to offer several different specials throughout the day to celebrate the occasion.
“There will be a lot of extra doughnuts,” Halverson said with a laugh. “We’ll have a lot of extra doughnuts to do.”
For Halverson, doughnut making is seemingly in his genes. His father, Morry, worked at Deluxe for more than 35 years. He recalls sweeping the floors and doing other odd jobs as a teenager while his father worked in the kitchen.
“I just thought it was a neat experience to be able to learn how to make the doughnuts,” said Halverson, who has worked at Deluxe for 25 years. “I thought that was really neat how they did them, so that’s the reason I started wanting to learn to make them.”
Allison, the longest tenured baker of the trio with more than 30 years of experience, returned to Anderson after a short stint in the Army following his high school graduation. He made doughnuts for a short time at the Pay Less store at Meridian and 29th streets before coming to Deluxe. He says making the pastries from scratch is something of an art form.
“It’s about taking pride in your work and never being in a hurry,” he said. “I enjoy seeing people eat the doughnut that I make. It brings a smile to my face when they enjoy it and I know I did a job well done.”
Phillips will occasionally bring a small piece of dough to younger customers who ask for a sample. With 12 years of doughnut-making experience, the 2005 Highland High School graduate is the junior member of the group. He says he’s learned plenty from his veteran coworkers.
“They’ve shown me how to cut the rings (for most of the doughnuts),” he said. “Once I got the hang of it, I was on my own cutting all by myself and getting better each day.”
All three men say the store’s devoted customer base is a big part of why they enjoy their jobs. They know many regulars by name, and the fact that the store is family-owned contributes to the sense of loyalty they have.
“I’ll have people sit there and watch me with their face pressed against the glass,” Allison said. “Little kids come in, and I’ll tear a piece of dough off and let them feel the dough, see what it feels like. You never know who’s going to be a future baker…they love that hands-on experience and they get to see things being done.”
“When you care about your job, it becomes more than just a job that you can do,” Halverson added. “You have to take pride in your work.”
Follow Andy Knight on Twitter @Andrew_J_Knight, or call 765-640-4809.