After-hours doughnut shop a sweet success

10/06/2013 11:18 PM

10/06/2013 11:23 PM

When 8-year-old Vionce Slaughter wanted an after-school snack on a Friday, there was really only one place she wanted to go.

Yum-Yum Donuts on G Street in Merced.

“It’s because of all the different kinds of flavors,” the Merced girl explained.

Vionce’s grandmother, Gloria James, bought half a dozen glazed doughnut rings and told her granddaughter she would have to share.

“She’s not getting all these, but I’m sure she’d like to,” James joked.

James is a loyal customer andthat’s something longtime store owner Jose Rincon appreciates.

“I have my daughter who works here, (and) my nephew, both for a long time,” Rincon said.

Rincon, 56, bought his shop in Merced from Yum-Yum Corp. in 1993. He started making doughnuts when he was 25 and living in Los Angeles.

He also has longtime employees such as 23-year-old Enrique Ramos, who said he started working at the shop when he was 15.

“It’s just really nice people to work for,” Ramos said. “They actually care about (employees), and you get to talk to people and make doughnuts.”

Ramos is studying business at Merced College.

“Maybe one day I’ll open a pastry shop or a restaurant,” he said. “This is a great place to learn things.”

“I like Merced. I’m happy we came here to this place – they like doughnuts,” Rincon said.

He said Merced has been good to him.

“My business is up 75 percent from when I started,” Rincon said. “I don’t know, I think maybe the guy here before me maybe didn’t know how to make the doughnuts.”

Rincon wants to open a second shop on Yosemite Avenue. He hopes construction on a building will begin before the end of the year, but said plans are still in the works.

The recent national recession did not really have much effect on his business, he said.

“We actually went up (in profits),” he said. “Maybe it’s the sugar – people always like that, but (the recession), it was no problem here.”

It’s also possible his business benefitted from the influx of new college students when UC Merced opened in 2005, he said.

“The college kids, they drink a lot of coffee and get a lot of doughnuts,” he said, “especially at night. We sell more at night than the day.”

That’s why Rincon keeps his shop open 24 hours a day. He closes just two days a year: Thanksgiving and Christmas.

For Merced College students such as Kae Saetern, Rincon’s doughnut shop is part of his college experience.

“I never really bought them before (college),” Saetern said. “But, it’s really good prices. You get a lot for your money.”

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