An Aussie couple have brought the designer donut craze to Queenstown.
Bakers Tess and Clint Sloan moved to the resort five months ago, hoping to open a food business in the CBD.
When Johnny Barr’s on Church Street closed down, they saw their opportunity.
Balls and Bangles specialises in fresh indulgent donuts and ‘freak’ shakes – with everything naughty thrown in.
Clint says: “In Australia, this type of thing is going crazy at the moment, especially in Melbourne.
“And no one was really offering it in Queenstown.”
Donuts have long been a staple of the North American diet, spawning chain giants such as Krispy Kreme.
Now independent gourmet shops are finding a market around the world.
The couple have a three-and-a-half year lease on the premises, positioned a drunken stumble away from a backpackers.
“We’ve had a lot of them come in,” Tess says.
“It’s been very crazy the first week, it’s exceeded expectations.”
They’ve 12 staff, with another two needed.
The set-up was relatively inexpensive, as they’ve retained Johnny Barr’s tables and counter. Everything’s been given a fresh lick of paint and they’ve saved by designing the logo themselves.
The shop sells filled donuts for $4, bagels and coffee.
(The indulgent donut range, at $8-a-pop, features flavours such as caramel corn and sweet and sour. ‘Freak’ shakes are another draw.
Tess: “They’re a milkshake that you basically load a lot of sugar on to, brownies, whipped cream, everything.
“If you’re on a diet, I wouldn’t recommend it.”
Clint adds: “We’re at the other end of the spectrum from the health food market.”
The couple, their kids and staff have had taste sessions as they (experimented with recipes. They’re not worried about their own waistlines, though.
“I think we’re working too hard for that – it’s been 15-hour days,” Tess says.
They’ll consider franchising if the Queenstown shop is a success.
“But I do like the way Fergburger do it,” Clint says. “I stood outside there for an hour, one day, counting the queue.
“If we can do a 10th of the business they do, I’ll be happy.”