I had never heard of Voodoo Doughnuts until a friend mentioned it on a recent trip to Portland, Oregon. But with a name like Voodoo, I just had to check it out.
When I arrived at the store, I was second in line. But by the time I left, there was a line down the street. It was pretty easy to see why they’re so popular as I gazed around. Doughnuts spinning in a display case of every color, texture, and flavor imaginable: bacon, maple, chocolate, coconut, cereal, and M&Ms – just to name a few.
The names are even more unique, ranging from their eponymous Voodoo Doll (doll-shaped doughnut filled with raspberry jelly topped with chocolate frosting and a pretzel stake) to Captain My Captain (vanilla frosting topped with Captain Crunch). Talk about taste bud nirvana. I finally settled on two Voodoo Dolls and a chocolate covered caramel drizzled, and a glazed doughnut with chocolate chip peanut butter and chocolate icing.
And all that sweetness was encased within the four, bright pink walls of the shop. It was a multi-sensory experience, to say the least.
Voodoo opened the first of three stores in 2003 and gained even greater notoriety in 2007, when they spoke to NPR about one of their doughnut experiments: a “hangover” doughnut featuring Pepto Bismol-vanilla frosting topped with crushed Tums. Unfortunately, it was banned by the Health Department because it was a mix of food and medicine. But the rumor is, that’s where they got their tagline: “The magic is in the hole.”
Open 24/7, Voodoo has a loyal community of followers who are seeking a fun, eclectic, delicious experience at any hour of the day or night. They’re also an integral part of Portland. In addition to creating doughnuts, they give back by supporting at-risk youth, prison inmates, and even a roller derby league.
Beyond the city, they’ve gained nationwide notoriety as Guinness Book of World Records titleholders for the largest box of doughnuts. They’ve been featured on an episode of Grimm, and in countless television news programs, magazines, and newspapers. Rouge Brewery, a local Portland Micro Brewery, also partnered with Voodoo to create a Bacon Maple Ale.
You can even get married there.
Voodoo is a brilliant example of how to build a passionate community around your business. People who not only come back time and time again – but who herald your business to friends, family and even random strangers.
After my visit to Voodoo, I truly became a fan. And as I opened the lid of my pink doughnut box, I thought: Life does not get any better than this.
Experience the magic at voodoodoughnut.com
Photo credit: Kris McLavey, taken at the Hilton in downtown Portland, OR, with iphone