By Angela Hatcher, Senior Staff Writer

Last month, the Butler County Visitor’s Bureau announced the Donut Trail was ready for travel.

Donut connoisseurs, foodies and adventure-seekers alike eagerly piled into cars to conquer this sweet new trail.

Featuring nine local donut shops, the Donut Trail has everything a donut lover could imagine: rows upon rows of fresh, warm donuts served to hungry customers by friendly business owners, with espresso, coffee and milk to wash it all down.

With over 227 combined years of experience, these shops — and their owners — know donuts.

Whether you’re looking for a donut that’s completely one-of-a-kind or a classic childhood favorite, one of these mom-and-pop style bakeries has it. From S’mores, Reese’s, Fruity Pebbles, german chocolate, and cheesecake donuts to maple bacon, apple cider and good ’ole glazed donuts — anyone who is brave and hungry enough to take on the trail is in for a treat.

Along the way, if you obtain the passcodes from each shop and mail in your completed passport, you’ll be rewarded with a free Donut Trail T-shirt, proving that you are among the elite who have completed the trail.

Kelly’s Bakery

Kelly’s Bakery is the perfect mixture of cozy, classy and retro chic.

When you first walk into the shop, the sassy brunette woman on the logo greets you with a warm smile and  a tray of donuts and coffee.

There is a giant chalkboard with a perfectly drawn image of Olaf, the snowman from ‘Frozen,’ reading some of the bakery’s specialties.

Named after her daughter, Kelly, Diana Ramsey’s shop is the result of a complete 360-degree renovation. About two-and-a-half years ago, Ramsey gutted the old shop and created something entirely unique: Kelly’s.

Ramsey had always loved to bake. Before owning Kelly’s, she  worked  in industrial sales for over 20 years. But every Christmas she  and her family would bake, and bake and bake. Cookies, pastries — anything sweet. She loved to pass out her concoctions to coworkers.

The love for baking runs in the family. Ramsey’s sister, Terri Niederman, owns The Donut Spot, also featured on the  Donut Trail.

Seeking her sister’s guidance, Ramsey asked Niederman if she wanted to open another shop. Niederman had her hands full with The Donut Spot, but she decided to help Ramsey open a bakery of her own.

Kelly’s Bakery opened on Jan. 13, 2015 and just celebrated its one year anniversary.

Like most new business owners, Ramsey was surprised with the workload.

“My daughter said to me, ‘This isn’t for the faint of heart! You better be eating your Cheerios,’” Ramsey said. “It’s a lot.”

With an ideal location, Kelly’s was a success from day one.

Ramsey emphasizes the supportive community among the local bakeries on the Donut Trail, rather than competitive.

The Butler County Donut Trail has only brought more and more business to each shop.

“It’s a great, great concept,” Ramsey said. “I really commend Butler County for coming up with such a successful thing to do.”

Kelly’s prides itself on making a variety of donuts for its loyal customers. Among some of the biggest hits are the Buckeye donut, S’mores donut, Fruity Pebbles donut, bacon donut and the birthday donut. And, of course, the  traditional, glazed donut is Kelly’s “bread and butter.”

Ramsey’s personal favorite is a double sweet cake with cherry icing, a simple donut.

“Making the donuts is always a team effort,” Ramsey said. “We talk about donut ideas in shop, bounce them around and brainstorm together.”

As for Ramsey’s future, she can’t see herself anywhere besides Kelly’s. She loves working in her shop with her team of employees. Her passion for her business and a sprinkle of sweetness are what have made Kelly’s such a huge success.

Jupiter Coffee and Donuts

Jupiter Donuts and Coffee stands out along the Donut Trail from the moment you walk through the door. Rather than being a grab-and-go kind of shop, Jupiter has multiple tables and chairs set up so customers can sit down and enjoy their donuts in the cozy bakery atmosphere with the aroma of fresh coffee in the air.

“We wanted it to be an experience when customers come in,” said Cindy Wallis, owner and Miami University alum.

Wallis began working in the bakery part-time decorating cakes. She was eventually promoted to manager before the owner looked at her one day and asked if she wanted to buy the place and fix it up. Driven by  pure instinct and ambition, she said yes.

She was ready to begin the renovation and make the bakery hers. She renamed the bakery after the street she lived on.  Despite only being open one year,  the bakery is already a success.

“The Donut Trail has definitely helped get our name out there,” Wallis said. “The visitors are very sweet and loyal to the local shops.”

Since the Donut Trail’s inception, there has been a massive influx of customers. Wallis has been selling out once or twice a week. Her business goal for the coming year? Never sell out.

“If we make 50 pounds [of dough] at night, then we’ll make 20 more in the morning,” Wallis said. “I want to make sure that if people drive all the way out here for a donut, they get their fix.”

While Wallis’s love for her job is undeniable, this wasn’t always what she had planned for her future.

Wallis was a zoology major with a pre-med focus when she was studying at Miami. She began dating her boyfriend, Gregg Trueb, in the eighth grade. He also went to Miami, preparing to become an electrical engineer. They graduated Miami in 2007 and are currently married with children — the perfect Miami merger.

“I get to go to work every day, decorate donuts and sell them to little kids who have the biggest smile on their faces when they see all the sprinkles,” Wallis said. “What’s not to love about my job?”

Stops Along the Donut Trail

Jupiter Coffee and Donuts

5353 Ohio 4, Fairfield; 513-829-7674

Kelly’s Bakery

1335 Main St., Hamilton; 513-285-4040

Martin’s Donuts

4 W. State St., Trenton; 513-988-0883

Milton’s Donuts

3533 Roosevelt Blvd., Middletown; 513-422-8612

Mimi’s Donuts and Bakery

2267 Millvile Ave., Lodder’s Hanover Township; 513-280-1911

Oxford Doughnut Shoppe

120 Locust St., Oxford; 513-523-9911

Ross Bakery

4421 Hamilton-Cleves Road, Ross Township; 513-738-3129

1051 Eaton Ave., Hamilton; 513-894-9016

Stan the Donut Man

7967 Cincinnati-Dayton Road, West Chester Township; 513-759-0016

The Donut Spot

5148 Pleasant Ave. (U.S. 127), Fairfield; 513-863-7033

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