Donuts done different

Published 9:30 am Monday, January 13, 2014

Sara McLaughlin, foreground, cuts up donuts while her sister and business partner, Stacey Koziel, works near the stove. (Submitted photo)

Sara McLaughlin, foreground, cuts up donuts while her sister and business partner, Stacey Koziel, works near the stove. (Submitted photo)

The donuts from Hello Donuts are a little different.

They are baked instead of fried.

And while they have the traditional favorites like chocolate and cinnamon, they offer unique tastes like the Firehouse Breakfast Donut, which combines maple icing and a slice of bacon.

There’s also the 21st Birthday Donut made with whipped cream vodka in the frosting.

If that doesn’t satisfy your palate, try the Quad Donut — a chocolate donut with peanut butter, caramel and crushed pretzels.

“We try to mix it up and give people a little something different,” said 25-year-old Stacey Koziel, who runs Hello Donuts with her sister Sara McLaughlin, a former Buchanan resident. “They are definitely not your average go to the grocery store and pick up a bag of donuts, donuts.”

The sisters started Hello Donuts in 2012, selling at farmer’s markets in Buchanan and Three Oaks.

They were inspired and influenced by their late grandmother Margie Freehling, who was a prolific baker known within the family and in the Three Oaks community in which she lived.

“We kind of grew up with a giant sweet tooth,” Koziel said. “We always knew that baking was something we wanted to do, whether that be for our families or eventually for a business.

“When our grandmother passed away a few years ago we really started talking about doing something in her memory and her honor.”

The name Hello Donuts is a tribute to their grandmother, who was known for answering the phone with a unique and energetic “hello.”

“It was always a family joke how grandma would answer the phone,” Koziel said. “We like how we could keep the family’s inside joke in the name.”

As for offering baked donuts instead of fried, Koziel said it’s another way to help them stand out from the typical donut crowd.

“We like to say that once you try it, you won’t miss the deep-fried aspect of it,” she said. “It ended up being a plus for people who don’t want fried food or can’t have fried food. I won’t lie and say they aren’t decadent. With all those crazy flavors they can get pretty wild.”

The sisters currently run Hello Donuts from their two homes. Koziel is living in South Bend, Ind., while McLaughlin, 32, is living in Three Oaks.

Koziel said they’ve had great success selling at farmer’s markets.

“We sold out every week in a matter of a couple hours,” she said. “We were really encouraged by the farmer’s markets and that’s what pushed us to want to do this full time.”

The sisters are planning on opening a storefront somewhere in the Harbor Country area, although they haven’t settled on a specific place.

They’ve launched a Kickstarter campaign to help secure startup costs. More information about the campaign can be found at

“We think something like donuts can provide happiness to people in a real simple way,” Koziel said. “It is something so nostalgic that can really bring people together and that’s our goal for this.”

For more information, or to order donuts, visit the Hello Donuts page on Facebook.