On June 11, the Doughnut Club is rolling into Denver’s Central Park, opening its fourth storefront at 7302 East 29th Avenue.
Marquez and Ondrea Fernandez love doughnuts, but also like healthy eating. While exercising in the gym one day in 2015, Marquez dreamed of biting into a warm doughnut. His daydream turned into reality when the couple decided to create protein-packed doughnuts that would satisfy the sweet tooth of a health-conscious clientele, using their health care and social work backgrounds to create a business. The Dough Bar was designed to make and ship doughnuts that are actually good for you — oven-baked, low in fat and high in protein.
They presented their business model on ABC’s Shark Tank in 2018, and one of the sharks bit. Barbara Corcoran invested $300,000 in the company in exchange for a 20 percent stake.
“We have a unique product, and we’ve never seen anything like this on Shark Tank, so we went for it,” recalls Marquez. “Shark Tank was a once-in-a-lifetime experience, so we made sure to have fun and be grateful for the opportunity.”
The Dough Bar was soon making more than doughnuts; the lineup includes monkey bread, protein-bar biscuits and cinnamon rolls. And it was soon selling them not just online, but in a brick-and-mortar store, the Doughnut Club. After moving to Colorado from California, the couple opened a Doughnut Club in Fort Collins in 2019 — and later that year filed for bankruptcy protection. After reorganizing the business, they reopened the Fort Collins shop and added a RiNo location, which opened at 3040 Blake Street on National Donut Day in 2020. A Lakewood store opened in January. The Denver Central Park location will be located between Starbucks and Bruegger’s Bagels.
All of the Doughnut Clubs offer gourmet doughnuts renowned for their size, taste and crazy-fun look (and doughnut hole on the side). Flavors are changed every month; so far, the fan favorite is the Cookie Monster, which is blue, bedazzled with Oreos and fried with an Oreo-infused butter glaze. Vegan and gluten-free options are available.
The Fernandezes plan to open two more locations in metro Denver, then expand into more states. They've tapped into a support network of local health and fitness communities across the country to map out their plans. “Now our customers can enjoy a doughnut every day and satisfy their sweet tooth while still maintaining their health goals,” says Marquez.
The Doughnut Club’s fourth storefront will open in June at 7302 East 29th Avenue; the hours will be Monday through Saturday from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sundays from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. You can also purchase treats from the Dough Bar online shop for delivery and pick-up.