Oct. 16—When Greg and Amy Gilmore opened Gramps Coffee & Donuts on the northeast corner of Fourth and Frederica streets on July 6, the line of customers stretched out of the building and onto the sidewalk.
It did that three times that week.
"There's still a line out the door a lot of times on Saturdays," Amy Gilmore says. "But we move them through pretty fast."
At 10 a.m. Tuesday, the line was back to the door, but a few minutes later it was cleared out.
"It's been like this since we opened," Gilmore said. "We sell out several days a week."
What's the secret?
"We're just different," Gilmore said. "We make a different type of doughnut. Our coffee comes from Onyx Coffee Lab in Arkansas. They source really good coffee and work one on one with the growers all over the world."
She said earlier that her donuts are "flaky, more of a pastry."
Onyx says on its website, "We maintain high standards for how our coffees score and taste. When the coffees land at our HQ, we roast and cup and make minute adjustments to the roast profiles until they make the coffees shine in the cup. We roast and ship coffees every weekday utilizing solar energy from the roof of our facility. A sample is taken from each roast and cupped for quality, to track the characteristics of our coffees, and to give feedback on roast profiles. This ensures that every coffee that goes out not only meets our standards but is truly remarkable."
Gilmore said, "We get a lot of out-of-town customers, especially from the downtown hotels. And the bluegrass museum is good in telling people about us. We've had people from all over the country and out of the country."
Dennis Gilmore, her father-in-law, is the Gramps in the company's name.
He was sitting in the store Tuesday and a man asked to take a picture of him.
"We call him our mascot," Amy Gilmore said. "A lot of people want to pose for pictures with him. He gets a real big kick from it."
The front of the store seats 20 and she's about to open an event and overflow room in the back that will seat another 18 to 20 people.
Saturday is the store's busiest day, Gilmore said, followed by Sunday.
Hours are 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday and 7 a.m. to noon on Sunday.
The busiest hours are 8 a.m. to 9 a.m.
"Our best seller is six doughnuts, one of each type we offer," Gilmore said. "I make a set amount of doughnuts each day, more than I think we'll sell. But some days are busier than I expect."
Fall break week was one of those times, she said.
The store has 10 employees.
Gilmore said, "We're thinking about adding lunch options later, but for now, we're going to stick with what we're doing."
The three-story Italianate building, erected in 1893, is part of the Doctors' Row historic district downtown.