We had the good fortune of connecting with Alex McEntire and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Alex, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
I was working my dream job in the corporate world when I started Chin Up Donuts. I loved my job and started making donuts on the side as a fun creative outlet, playing around with inventive flavor combos and spreading a little joy to my coworkers in the office. After over six years in the office environment, I decided I was having more fun creating eccentric donut flavors than at my desk job and quit my full-time role to pursue Chin Up Donuts. It was one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever made, but ultimately it came down to wanting to create something positive and joyful. I wanted to create a company people were excited to work for, a space where customers felt happy to go into, and a product I was proud to share with others. Being able to share a little slice of happiness with others has been my main goal and purpose behind the whole concept, and if I can make just one person’s day brighter, I’m living the dream.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
Chin Up Donuts aims to elevate a childhood favorite while spreading more joy and positivity to the world, one ring of dough at a time. We make our brioche donuts from scratch – no mixes, weird ingredients you can’t pronounce, or preservatives that would outlast the decade. I am excited to be able to push the limits of what is normal or ordinary on donuts, pairing spicy, savory, and unexpected glazes and toppings. Anything I eat I like to think, how can this be crafted into a donut? From our mac & cheese fritter to the sriracha cinnamon sugar donut, food should be fun and we want you to explore something different with our donuts. Starting this business wasn’t easy, making things from scratch is definitely not the easy route, and creating flavors that people have never seen before can be intimidating – but I built this business to be different and I’m excited by the potential. People don’t always like things that are different than what they’re used to, and people aren’t always going to love what we create, but there are going to be people that rave about our donuts and flavor combos – and that’s who we create for. I want people to experience a bit of positivity and joy when they come into the shop while enjoying some delicious, and sometimes unusual, donuts. Keep your chin up, you live in a world with donuts.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Phoenix is huge, and has so many amazing places to eat and outdoor adventures to check out – I always love showing friends around town. Mexican food would definitely be on the agenda multiple times throughout the week, it’s my absolute favorite and there are so many great spots to check out. I’d make sure we went to Caramba for some of my favorite margs and a fun outdoor patio, bonus points if we make it on taco Tuesday. We’d go to Las 15 Salsas and Los Olivos a couple of my favorite hidden gems for more great Mexican food and nice patios… hopefully this friend likes chips and salsa! I’d start one day with coffee and a walk around Dreamy Draw for some fresh air and desert scenery right in the heart of the city. I’d head out to Tempe Town Lake and rent a boat to cruise around the lake – I used to work there back in the day so it’s nostalgic… and just fun to be on the water. Then I’d go to OHSO and grab a pitcher (or two) of beers on happy hour and check out all the cute dogs.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
There’s no doubt that any form of success would not be possible without my family, From making deliveries across town, helping with electrical issues at my shop, to stamping bags and folding boxes – they continue to help this dream of mine become a reality. It started with my parents instilling confidence and grit in me since day one, and making me believe I truly can do whatever I put my mind to. Now I have my two amazing sisters that would drop anything to help as I navigate this crazy world of owning my own business. Shout out to my family and friends that have been taste testers and cheerleaders since day one – I’m forever grateful.
Will Coles, Nicole Ison, Kelly Kleber