Opened in 1972, The Donut Man has become not just a culinary icon, but a cultural example of the American Dream. Jim and Miyoko Nakano opened the donut shop in May of 1972 seeking to achieve their dreams through entrepreneurship. Originally the donut shop was part of a franchise and named Foster’s Donuts. It wasn’t until the mid 80’s when Jim became independent and The Donut Man was born. Jim recalls sitting at dinner with some friends discussing his need to choose a new name for the newly independent donut shop. As they were getting up to leave, a little girl said “Look, it’s the donut man!” At that moment Jim became The Donut Man.
The Donut Man is best know if it’s iconic fresh fruit donuts, especially the Fresh Strawberry Donut. The Strawberry Donut has been featured in countless times in local and national media. Most recently on the “Today” show and Food Network’s “The Best thing I Ever Ate”. Jim developed the strawberry donut from an over abundant strawberry crop one year. The San Gabriel Valley and more specifically the greater Glendora area was surrounded by strawberry farms. While picking up a donut one morning, a local farmer mentioned that he had plenty of strawberries and that Jim should come up with a way to use them. It took Jim a while to perfect what we now know as the Strawberry Donut. He says the key was finding the right balance of sweetness, due to how sweet all the components can be. It became an instant success and the customers fell in love with it.
The Donut Man today looks much like it did in 1972. Every donut is made by hand, on site, and every day. The same process, ingredients, and standards that made this small town donut shop so popular. This can be seen in the unique shape that every donut takes, proving that is was made by hand. Jim says his success has come from being hard headed in that he will not compromise on quality and customer service. You can come by and watch through the window for yourself. Every donut is cut, shaped, fried, and frosted in front of the customer.