Shipley’s Do-Nuts, a beloved doughnut and kolache icon, has come a long way from its modest origins as a mom-and-pop shop in Houston. Today, with over 300 locations across the American South, Shipley’s stands as a testament to the power of hard work, quality products, and a commitment to growth. Let’s take a closer look at how this Houston-born brand started and where it’s headed.
The story of Shipley’s begins with Lawrence Shipley Sr., a determined entrepreneur with a passion for doughnuts. He learned the ropes of the trade from his wife Lillie’s family, who owned a doughnut shop in Dallas. After gaining valuable experience, Shipley Sr. opened his own doughnut shop in Dallas, which he later sold for a mere $350. Seeking new opportunities, he relocated to Houston, where he embarked on a mission to create a doughnut recipe that could withstand the city’s humid climate.
Shipley Sr.’s perseverance paid off when he perfected a doughnut that held its glaze perfectly. In 1936, he opened Shipley Cream Glazed Do-Nuts as a wholesale bakery on Crockett Street, selling hand-cut doughnuts for just $0.05 per dozen. It wasn’t until the 1940s that the first retail location emerged at the intersection of Michaux and Euclid streets, where customers could savor a single doughnut paired with a cup of coffee.
In 1952, Lawrence and Lillie Shipley purchased a building on North Main to establish their headquarters and set the stage for future expansion. By the 1960s, Shipley’s offered an impressive selection of 27 doughnut and roll varieties, captivating the taste buds of Houstonians and beyond.
Over the years, Shipley’s has undergone significant changes, with some locations evolving or making way for new developments. The original bakery on Crockett Street has transformed into a row of condos. However, the 3932 North Main location, which opened in 1950, still proudly serves customers as the oldest operating Shipley’s store.
For many years, Shipley’s remained a family-run business, with Lawrence Shipley III leading the way as the president. Since taking over in 2005, Shipley III embraced his family’s vision of expansion, propelling the company’s growth to new heights. In January 2021, Shipley Franchise Co. and Shipley Do-nut Flour & Supply Co. were acquired by Austin-based private equity firm Peak Rock Capital, signaling an intention to continue expanding the brand.
Today, Shipley’s boasts over 330 locations spread across 10 states, including Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas. The menu has also expanded, offering customers a selection of 60 different glazed, iced, jelly-filled, and cake doughnuts. Despite the variety, the classic plain glazed doughnut, with its signature hexagon shape, remains the top seller.
Shipley’s is not only renowned for its doughnuts but also for its kolaches. Interestingly, it wasn’t until 1995 that the company introduced kolaches to its menu, offering delicious combinations such as sausage and cheese, cheese and jalapeño, and ham and cheese to cater to savory breakfast preferences.
If you enjoy donuts from Duck Donuts and Krispy Kreme, you will love these:
- Plain Glazed Doughnut: The classic, hexagon-shaped plain glazed doughnut holds a special place in the hearts of Shipley’s fans. Its soft and fluffy texture, combined with a sweet glaze that perfectly coats the doughnut, has made it a timeless favorite.
- Kolaches: Shipley’s kolaches have gained a loyal following. These savory pastries are available in various flavors, including sausage and cheese, cheese and jalapeño, and ham and cheese. The combination of a soft, slightly sweet dough with savory fillings has made kolaches a beloved breakfast option.
- Chocolate Glazed Doughnut: For chocolate lovers, Shipley’s chocolate glazed doughnut is a must-try. This indulgent treat features a fluffy doughnut covered in a rich chocolate glaze, making it an irresistible choice for those with a sweet tooth.
- Blueberry Cake Doughnut: Shipley’s blueberry cake doughnut is a delightful twist on the classic doughnut. The cake-like texture, combined with the burst of juicy blueberries, creates a flavorful and satisfying treat that keeps customers coming back for more.
- Apple Fritter: Another popular choice is Shipley’s apple fritter. This doughnut is filled with chunks of apple, generously coated in cinnamon sugar, and deep-fried to perfection. The result is a crispy and indulgent treat that pairs perfectly with a cup of coffee.
- Glazed Twists: Shipley’s glazed twists offer a fun and twisted take on the classic glazed doughnut. These twisted pastries are soft, light, and covered in a sweet glaze that adds an extra touch of sweetness to each bite.