CHAMBERSBURG – At 4:00 p.m. on Monday, August 24, Mikey’s Mini Donuts (21 N. Main St.) finally got its ribbon-cutting celebration six months after it had opened its doors and served its first customers.
The original ceremony had been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and even in late August, the virus’s presence was still being felt. Visitors were asked to wear masks and practice social distancing while enjoying their mini donuts and waffle pops on a takeout basis.
One full year earlier, Yomaira Robles couldn’t believe her luck when she happened to be on Main Street at the exact moment the “for rent” sign went up in the window of 21 N. Main St.
Robles and her husband Luis Medina had been driving around town searching for the perfect location for their doughnut shop, and she knew this was it.
They had recently purchased the Mikey’s Mini Donuts business from its original owner who was leaving the business to spend more time with his family. Now, Robles and Medina wanted to transplant it from Hagerstown’s Premium Outlets to Chambersburg.
In August 2019, they began transforming the new location and getting the permits in order.
“All of that good stuff that comes along with owning a business,” said Robles recalled, laughing a bit from behind her mask. “It took us a while.”
Their primary menu item is, of course, their mini doughnuts. They come in orders of eight and 12, and customers can add whatever combination of toppings they desire. The selection of toppings is reminiscent of a well-stocked sundae bar – syrups, whipped cream, gummy bears – and even ice cream.
They also offer waffle pops, which are more of a dessert than a breakfast. They can be topped with your favorite cereal, and their design makes them ideal for eating while walking around downtown.
Of particular interest is “The Mikey,” which begins with four mini doughnuts, adds a scoop of ice cream and tops it off with the customer’s choice of toppings.
When she took over the business, Robles added drinks to the menu including self-serve coffee (currently unavailable due to COVID-19 restrictions), a cappuccino machine, milkshakes and more.
Finally, on Monday, March 16, after months of hard work, she opened their doors and let Chambersburgers inside.
There was a lot of uncertainty in the air back then as news reports of a virus began to trickle in from Italy and China, but nobody expected what came next.
“We opened the day before the shutdown,” said Robles.
The governor’s statewide pandemic mitigation efforts took effect at 12:01 a.m. on Tuesday, March 17.
“We had to close for two weeks even though this was all set to go,” she said referring to their Lil’ Orbits Mini Donut Machine and the rest of the fixtures and signage. “I wanted to be sure of what was allowed and what was not.”
In the early days, they weren’t even sure if a doughnut shop was considered “essential.”
Every day they were closed was costing money on top of the initial costs of renting and renovating the space before they opened, so once they understood the new rules of operation, they cautiously reopened.
“This is a thing that has affected all of us, and you just have to follow your dreams, too,” she said of the decision to press on while not knowing what the future held. “It won’t be easy. Things will get better, but if we don’t try, we won’t know.”
Robles said that so far she has been blessed and that even in middle of all of that she had regular customers coming back.
“So I know they liked the doughnuts,” she said. “They’re still coming out. There are busier days than others, but we still get the support.”
She added: “Both ways it’s the same: They’re afraid of what’s going on and we’re afraid, so we follow [the information] as much as we can and do as much as we can. It’s hard, but we’re getting there.”
When asked if there was anything to add, Robles said: “Just come and try it. You will love it.”
As for opening a business during a pandemic, she agreed that there is no such thing as a perfect time, adding, “Nothing is easy. We have to do the best we can.”