Question: What do gummy worms, M&M's, gumballs and bacon have in common?
Answer: Believe it or not, they're all donut toppings at Springfield's newest sweet treat stop.
Tim and Kass Clegg opened the quirky Hurts Donut Company on Nov. 18 in a cozy space just west of the Heer's Building on Park Central West. Since that day, the husband and wife duo says they have seen more donuts fly off the shelves than they could have ever imagined.
"We've had a line constantly here," Kass Clegg said. "As soon as we bring the product out, it's out the door again. It goes out just about as quickly as we let it cool."
From simple glazed donuts to such creations as the Cereal Killer (a chocolate donut with chocolate frosting and Cocoa Puffs on top), the Butterfinger donut (another chocolate donut with crushed Butterfinger bar pieces sprinkled on top), and a Cookie Monster-themed creation, customers are devouring new quirky combinations they might not see elsewhere.
"We just didn't have anything like this in Springfield, and now we have my favorite donuts," Kass Clegg said.
The Cleggs, who also own the Sno Bizz shaved ice franchise that operates in summertime at various Springfield locations, first birthed the idea for opening a donut shop after they both visited a shop called The Donut Whole in Wichita, Kan. The couple saw their eclectic selection of donuts, but it wasn't just the donuts that sold them -- the store offered an antique-themed atmosphere and events such as live music.
"We wanted something similar to that," Tim Clegg said. "We looked at each other and said 'We're coming up with something.'"
Seeing there wasn't a similarly-themed donut shop in Springfield was motivation enough for the Cleggs to come up with everything from initial plan to opening in just three months. The storefront on 301 Park Central West showed signs of activity in the weeks leading up to the first donut being sold, as signs in the window showed the company's logo: A donut with a bandage on it, playing on the classic "Wanna hurts donut" joke.
"It's something fun for everyone," Tim Clegg said. "We've had so many people come in since we've opened -- it's just been so busy."
The couple says they owe their initial success to word of mouth in the close-knit downtown Springfield community, as well as a Facebook following that has exploded in recent weeks. As of the early afternoon on Nov. 29, the Hurts Donut Facebook page has a total of 3,313 likes -- a small indication of the donut store's popularity.
The store's decor isn't hurting its popularity, either. Photos of the interior of Hurts Donut began populating social image sharing app Instagram within days, with many focusing on the hand-drawn menu, the "What Does the Fox Say?" quote on a small chalkboard, an oven hood with the word Frankenhood emblazoned on it -- and yes, the donuts themselves.
Hurts Donut has been a hit among several age groups, particularly college students in Springfield. Missouri State University student Kristen O'Plotnik paid Hurts Donut a visit for the first time on her own Tuesday and came away a fan.
"I work for the blood drive at MSU and the guy who's in charge of it bought us some donuts, and it was amazing," O'Plotnik said. "The location -- it's right next to the movie theaters, and it's open 24/7, so that's awesome."
Actually, if the sign in the door is to be believed, Hurts Donut is open 25 hours a day, eight days a week. It's a light-hearted take on the Cleggs' commitment to crank out donuts and serve the community with what Tim Clegg hopes can be a "comfortable, inviting" place downtown. Clegg says it's all possible with a dedicated staff of roughly 15 employees who work tirelessly to bring the sweet treats to people who walk in anytime.
"We have people here making donuts late at night and early into the morning, so why not stay open?" Clegg said. "We just wanted to have some fun with it and be a comfortable place for people to hang out, and I think we've done that so far."