Get to know Doce Donut Co
After moving to Seattle, Damian and his wife Claudia began to dream of opening a bakery that combined Latin American flavors with a quintessentially American staple, the donut. Five years later, in 2023, they officially launched Doce Donut Co in the Fremont neighborhood.
Fun Fact: Doce – twelve in Spanish – gets its name because Damian and Claudia loved the energy of the 12’s community in Seattle! #GoHawks
Learn more about Doce Donut Co in this week’s business spotlight Q&A!
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
What’s your favorite part about the community your business is in & why?
We are located on Stone Way N, at the border between Fremont and Wallingford. Our neighborhood is at the cusp of evolving into a thriving community, as several buildings with commercial storefronts are under construction. A couple of new businesses are opening in the next couple of months, which will increase the walkability of the area.
Our customers have discovered us thru world of mouth and social media. Although our location does not have high walk traffic (yet) customers make the effort to drive out and support us. As our community/neighborhood grows (and we evolve as a business), our aim is to be involved in local events such as markets, sponsor running clubs (Brooks is just down the block), and other local gatherings.
Why is it important to you and your business that people #SpendLikeItMatters?
Spending it like it matters helps minority-owned businesses thrive when the odds are stacked against them. One dollar spent in a local business goes a long way as it is re-invested in the local economy/community. Its is a virtuous cycle because the success of local businesses encourages other entrepreneurs to start other businesses within the community, which in turn leads to new jobs and the wealth is recirculated throughout the community. At the end of the day, it is the Consumer who has the choice to make a meaningful impact within his/her community.
At Doce Donut Co. local support goes a long way. We are a Latino family owned business and cannot complete with other donut chains in terms of scale and funds, so we compete with quality. Our donuts are limited batch, artisanal and hand crafted. Additionally, the majority of our employees are Latino immigrants and our aim if for our employees to grow with us as we scale/grow our business.
As a business owner, what’s the strangest or craziest idea you’ve ever tried?
At Doce Donut Co, we blend our Latin American culture with an American staple, the donut. We are constantly coming up with unique flavor offerings and testing new donuts. Some have been successful with customers (i.e. Passion fruit crème brulee, guava and cheese) and others have not worked that well (i.e. surprisingly the pina colada was not a best seller). In the upcoming months we will release our take on an Oktoberfest donut in partnership with a local stout beer (lets see how that works?!?!)
What’s something your customers may not know about you or your business?
Although Seattle is growing in diversity, it falls behind with Latinx representation. Only 9% of Seattleites are Latinx versus 20% for the national average. As a Latino-owned business, we want share our culture and heritage with Seattleites. We come from a family of bakers that immigrated from Argentina and Venezuela and our aim is to share how our Latin American flavors can intertwine with an American staple, the donut.
What are some of your favorite local businesses and why?
We love other family owned business in Seattle. Layers (in Green Lake) is a husband and wife operated restaurant serving the best sandwiches we’ve had in Seattle. And if you are willing to drive out to Tacoma, Howdy Bagel (owned by a gay couple) serves some of our favorite breakfast bagels.
Anything else you’d like us to know about you and your business?
Venezuela has gone thru difficult political turmoil for the past 20 years. Amidst the humanitarian crisis, millions of displaced Venezuelans fled the country in search of a better life and opportunities. Myself, along with my parents, were part of this wave of immigrations. I was fortunate enough to finish my education in the US and found a successful career in corporate America. However, part of me remained unrestful in wanting to help my immigrant community. As such, my husband (Damian Castillo) and I decided to open a donut shop with Latin American inspired donut flavors and hire immigrants from our local community. Doce Donut Co. highlights my cultural identity, a duality between my Latin American roots and paying homage to the US, a country that welcomed me with new opportunities.
My in-laws and business partners, Daniel Castillo and Silvia Arreseygor, are both Argentinian immigrants that also share the hardships of starting anew in a different country. They left Argentina during the military dictatorship in the 80’s and fled to Venezuela, where they again had to flee during the Chavez regime. They moved to Miami and started a successful Latino Bakery called Crocante. However, during COVID the bakery suffered and they had to sell her participation. Daniel and Silvia, for the 4th time in their life, are starting from scratch, and at in their 70’s are investing and working at Doce Donut Co. Daniel is is the man behind our dough (with over 40 year of baking experience) and Silvia helps us decorate.
Although people often romanticize the idea of owning a restaurant, they are unaware that it requires a lot of sweat (and oftentimes tears.) We are in the shop as early as 3 am making our hand-crafted donuts. I would love nothing more to ensure our business continues to grow, so Daniel and Silvia can retire. They’ve put in intense manual labor since our opening, and we want for them to be able to take a step back to relax and enjoy the profits of their investment once we are able to scale.