By Kelly Higginson, Senior Staff Writer
An average day for Joshua Francis includes sleeping from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. before heading to his doughnut shop on 102 S. Locust Street in Oxford. Once there, he’ll make doughnuts until 3 or 4 a.m, then deliver the baked treats across Ohio until 7 a.m. Afterward, he returns to his shop to sell the doughnuts until the last one is gone — rarely making it to mid-morning.
This has been his routine since purchasing the Oxford Doughnut Shoppe in 2003 and opening the S. Locust Street location in April.
Francis graduated from Miami with a finance degree and in spring of that same year, he made the impulse decision to buy the Oxford Doughnut Shoppe, which had been in town for 60 years.
“My fraternity brother was going to be a real estate agent, and when he told me that the Oxford Doughnut Shoppe was for sale, I was hooked,” Francis said.
From that moment on, Francis has not only been whipping up the best doughnuts in town, but has also been building relationships with students, citizens and other business owners in Oxford.
“Sometimes Terri and Andrew [Amarantos] from Skippers will come in with some extra food, and I’ll give them a box of doughnuts,” Francis said. “They’re some of my most loyal customers.”
Andrew Amarantos, the co-owner of Skipper’s Pub in Uptown Oxford, closes his store around 3 a.m. — right when Joshua is pulling fresh cake doughnuts
out of the fryer.
“I look down at my waistline every day and think those doughnuts have something to do with it,” Amarantos said. “God bless Joshua for always giving me a box to take home every night.”
And they are not the only loyal doughnut lovers. On a regular business day at Oxford Doughnut Shoppe, Francis can barely keep the shop open until 10 a.m. before selling out of his daily stock.
Cake, glazed, powdered, sugared, cinnamon, jelly-filled, cream-filled — the Oxford Doughnut Shoppe has them all. Using over 240 pounds of yeast for “big production” weekend nights, Francis adds many secret ingredients that add to the distinct flavor of these delicious doughnuts.
Francis said it is not uncommon to find out that people from around the state have come to the store, tried the doughnuts and then spent hours trying to analyze the ingredients to steal the unique recipe that had been used prior to Francis purchasing the new location.
“Our ingredients to all of our doughnuts will never be shared, but I’m sure there’s someone trying to start another competing bakery Uptown,” he said.
Talawanda High School senior Rebecca Lockhart is one of the few that knows the secret recipes and has seen everything behind the closed doors of Oxford Doughnut Shoppe. She approached Francis for a mentorship for a school class about starting a business.
“I don’t think any other doughnut shop could compare,” Lockhart said. “It is a very friendly atmosphere, has the best product, and it is unique to this small town.”
Lockhart is used to working on weekends when the last doughnut in the store doesn’t make it past 10 a.m.
“People always say, ‘You’re never open!’” Lockhart said. “And I smile because we are open, people just love them so much and they sell super quick.”
Each night, Francis prepares a specific number of doughnuts for deliveries around Ohio the following morning. Only after he has finished those delivers does he return to sell the remaining doughnuts in his shop in Oxford.
“I make my doughnuts so there are enough, and then I go home,” Francis said. “I don’t need the money, I just really like meeting and seeing customers that know about my life.”
By Googling “Oxford Doughnut Shoppe,” nothing more than a phone number will appear. Although Francis recently set up an Instagram account (@oxforddoughnutshoppe), he hasn’t created a website or an elaborate Facebook page for his business — it’s all about going into the shop and experiencing it for yourself.