By Michael Regan
The Tonawanda News
BUFFALO — The owner of Paula’s Donuts, a fixture along Kenmore Avenue for the last 16 years, will be moving operations to a Tonawanda location on Sheridan Drive this summer.
Paula Huber, who spent years in the business before launching her own venture in the City of Buffalo, had wanted to stay at the locale and expand, though uncertainty about plans for the plaza there at the corner of Englewood Avenue led her to make the move.
Huber spent nearly two decades both working for and owning chain restaurants, such as Dunkin Donuts, before establishing her own business as a go-to stop for lovers of the fried goodness. She said besides her experience, the secret to her success was simple.
”I make donuts the way I like to eat them,” Huber said. “You go to chains and you end up saying, ‘where’s the filling, get out the microscope.’”
It was that devotion to quality that Huber credits for her renown. As the business continued to grow in size and reputation, she opened another location in Clarence a few years ago and now has 62 employees between both shops.
But as demand continued to increase in Buffalo, and the realization that Paula’s Donuts needed more than its 1,400 square feet there, Huber began to look elsewhere. In recent weeks she closed a deal that would move the business from Kenmore Avenue to a retail plaza already surrounded by other local food favorites such as Anderson’s Frozen Custard and Ted’s Hot Dogs, she said.
”For the last seven years they were selling the building and the deals would fall through,” she said of the owner of the Kenmore Avenue structure,which she said is owned by Valu Home Centers along with the rest of the plaza. “We wanted to expand here.”
After searching in North Buffalo and other areas of Tonawanda, Huber settled on a plaza that will allow her to more than double her space from the current 1,400-square feet at 2319 Sheridan Drive.
Huber hopes her customer base will move along with the Paula’s Donuts, which she said couldn’t have reached its popularity without the support of devoted patrons.
”They’re fantastic,” Huber said. “They have been supporting me and they made the business what it is today. The customers are like family. I come in the morning and there’s so many regulars which gives it that kind of feel.”
Tracey M. Lukasik, executive director of the Kenmore-Tonawanda Chamber of Commerce, said she is thrilled that Huber decided to move to the Tonawandas, though the business owner has already been a member of her organization for years and often contributed donuts to a variety of functions.
Huber still wishes she could stay in her current location, though she will continue operations in Buffalo until at least August.
”It’s too bad that they wouldn’t let us continue on here,” Huber said. “But we’re looking forward to expanding.”
Contact reporter Michael Regan at 693-1000, ext. 4115.