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BerkShares Business of the Month: Home Sweet Home Doughnut Shoppe

Doughnuts hold an important place in the American psyche. One Depression-era slogan advised, “As you go through life make this your goal: Watch the doughnut, not the hole.” Thanks to John and Debbie Scalia for stepping in to fill the doughnut hole in our local economy.

Great Barrington — By traditional Berkshire reckoning, Home Sweet Home Doughnut Shoppe is a newcomer. Owners Debbie and John Scalia are transplants from Enfield, Conn., and their Doughnut Shoppe at 258 Stockbridge Road (Route 7) in Great Barrington has not yet been open five years. But this new arrival has had no problem integrating into the community. In fact, the Scalias have seen such success that they opened a second location in Stockbridge this past November. Reports are that it is very rewarding to spend BerkShares at both locations. What’s the key to their success?

It may be the warm, friendly, Mom & Pop atmosphere that they have created in the Great Barrington shop, which is located on the ground floor of their own home. John insists that Debbie is the customer service specialist, but anyone can tell that he enjoys saying hello to customers just as much as his wife does. The soda-fountain-style counter faces directly into the kitchen, so John is never far away from his customers, even when he is in production mode. On a cold winter morning the sunlight coming into the shop is perfect for sitting and reading the paper with a cup o’ joe and a… well, you know what.

Or it may be that John, the doughnut maker of the pair, has captured the spirit of the farm-to-table trend that has blossomed in the Berkshires — though “farm-to-fryer” might be more applicable in his case. He is proud of the seasonal doughnuts he makes with local ingredients. In the autumn the Shoppe’s apple cider doughnuts are made with cider from Windy Hill Farm, Hilltop Orchards, and Bartlett’s Orchards. For the holidays the Shoppe offers an eggnog doughnut made with High Lawn Farm eggnog, and John’s current special is a gingerbread doughnut made from a warm blend of spices from the Berkshire Co-op Market.

But the real reason for their success is probably much simpler: the doughnuts taste really good. One bite is enough to convince you of the significance of the Scalias’ mantra, “hand-cut and fresh every day.” Like a true doughnut man, John starts mixing his dough each morning at midnight. The shop offers a stunning variety, including all sorts of cake doughnuts and raised doughnuts, crullers, mini-éclairs, and doughnut holes, as well as savory items such as Hebrew National hot dogs with homemade chili, fresh soup every day, and an extremely popular breakfast sandwich.

Luckily for all of us, John and Debbie have decided to share some of their wares with other local establishments. So if you spot a round deep-fried sweet treat at Ski Butternut, Fuel, Windy Hill Farm, The Marketplace, or Gulotta’s gas station in Sheffield, you can feel good about being tempted to buy it because you know who made it.

John and Debbie see using BerkShares as both a way to amplify their collaboration with the other local businesses that make the Berkshires unique, and to strengthen their connections with their customers. “We just love taking our BerkShares and going to the Gypsy Joynt,” says Debbie, “and what’s better, we’ve seen new customers come in the door since we started accepting BerkShares.”

Doughnuts hold an important place in the American psyche. One Depression-era slogan advised, “As you go through life make this your goal: Watch the doughnut, not the hole.” Thanks to John and Debbie Scalia for stepping in to fill the doughnut hole in our local economy.

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