A husband and wife team is filling a hole that was left when Kokomo’s Jack’s Donuts closed this spring during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Now, Jeff and Sheila Swenke purchased the location, which is set to open this Friday, and they’re adding to the selection that the previous store offered. Now, Jack’s Donuts will have a bigger variety of donuts, twice as many filling flavors, espresso, energy drinks, and it’ll become the third location also offering Jack’s ice cream.
“We’re very excited. We’re very excited to be in Kokomo and be a part of the community,” said Sheila. “We know that Jack’s did well in Kokomo, so we’re looking forward to getting it back open. We keep saying, ‘Bigger, better, stronger.’”
The Kokomo store marks the third Jack's Donuts store owned by the Swenkes. The couple purchased a location in Indianapolis two years ago and built a location in Crawfordsville last year. Since purchasing the Kokomo store, the new owners have been renovating it to “make it ours,” said Sheila, and to make space for the new offerings.
Customers can expect more selection. The store will feature Jack’s 32 signature donuts, but the Swenkes actually make 60 different varieties of donuts. A new product they developed and started in their Crawfordsville store also will be offered in Kokomo, an “ooey-gooey” cinnamon bun.
The Swenkes also will offer jumbo glazed croissants and eight filling flavors: white fluff, Bavarian cream, strawberry, apple, cherry, blueberry, raspberry, lemon, and seasonal selections such as pumpkin cream, key lime, and chocolate Bavarian.
Also brand new to all Jack’s stores is ice cream, and the Swenkes will make the Kokomo store the third location to offer the hand-dipped ice cream in 12 flavors, joining Mishawaka and South Bend.
“It’s still brand spanking new, so we’re very excited about that,” said Sheila “So we’re adapting the store for that, too.”
In addition to bringing the sugar, the Swenkes are bringing the caffeine. Joining Jack’s standard coffee options, the Kokomo location also will feature espresso specialty coffee drinks and new Jack’d energy drinks, which are all-natural energy drinks made from the green coffee bean, said Sheila.
“They’re a lot of fun, a lot of fun flavors. A lot of them have bubble balls. They’re really cute, pretty fun with the big neon straws,” Sheila said.
But opening the store, the Swenkes said, is about more than just bringing good, fun quality products to market. It’s also about becoming involved in the community and getting to know customers. At the couple’s other two locations, they sponsor various charities and donate leftover donuts at the end of the day to different nonprofits.
In Kokomo, the Swenkes plan to do the same.
They also enjoy providing fun options to customers. Currently, they’re filling orders for many gender reveal parties by creating donuts that are dipped in blue or pink icing, and they also do their share of weddings and graduations, Sheila said.
And during holidays, the Swenkes get festive. They offer take-and-make kits with a dozen festively-shaped donuts that come with icing and sprinkles for families to put their own special touches on the donuts. On Mother’s Day, they created donuts shaped like butterflies and flowers, and on Easter, they made bunny-shaped donuts. This Halloween, they’ll be making donuts in the shapes of pumpkins and ghosts.
They also offer cakes, which are extra-large donuts that fit snugly in the Jack’s purple box.
The Swenkes said they have a lot of fun in their stores and aim to make the customers smile – that’s why they got involved, after all.
The pair retired after working 30 years in the corporate world, and after a year-and-a-half out of work, they decided they were too young to be retired and sought a second career that was more joyful. That’s when they purchased their Indianapolis location.
“Donuts, it’s a happy thing,” said Jeff. “We came from another industry that was all parts and other stuff, but this is just donuts. They’re happy, and they’re fun. It’s customer service and donuts, happy things.”
The Kokomo location will be managed by the Swenkes’ son, Brandon Swenke.
Jack’s Donuts is located at 3707 S. Reed Road and opens this Friday.