Working full time, raising a family and going to college at the University of Baltimore, Robin Holmes was successful at juggling her responsibilities. But the dream of starting her own business was fueled by her determination to be financially independent and inspired by her hard-working mother (a dedicated nursing home cook who died in 2013). Purchasing a food truck with her own money, Robin started Deddle's Donuts to sell her "hot and fresh" mini donuts in 2016. Named after her mother, Deddle's Donuts serves a lunch menu from the truck and specialty donuts at festivals.
As with many small businesses, Robin has encountered challenges. It has been hard to find employees who could not only effectively operate the donut machine, but also work changing schedules at a variety of locations. Robin admits she is a perfectionist and has had trouble letting others take over tasks that she would prefer to do herself. In order to grow and not "burn out", she has had to rely on others to take over events.
She has hired and trained new employees in her off-season, teaching everything from cooking her signature donuts to customer service. As Robin's business continues to expand, she has considered whether to stay with donuts as her primary focus or "rebrand" to become "Deddle's Chicken & Donuts". Both have pros and cons.
Robin worked with several SCORE mentors, stating that all of them helped with different aspects of starting and growing her business. She described Thomas Shipley as her "school of hard knocks" mentor who taught her that a commitment to what she believes is the most important part of having a successful business. Mr.Shipley stressed the importance of "learning your numbers, competitors, and target market." SCORE mentor Julian Spencer showed her numerous resources that were available online and in the SCORE office. SCORE mentor Jeff Brodsky provided useful insights specific to the restaurant industry.
Returning to the University of Baltimore in 2016, Robin entered the school's Leonard and Phyllis Attman Business Prize Competition for Start-up Business Ideas and won the $2,500 grand prize. With the money, she purchased a freestanding donut machine that has allowed her to expand her business to serve her donuts at corporate events, weddings, parties and larger festivals. Robin has recently been accepted into the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business program. The program has invested over $500 million to help entrepreneurs create jobs and economic opportunity by providing them with greater access to education, financial capital and business support services. She has also won "Best Dessert at the Taste of 3 Cities" Food Truck Festival, secured a loan for a new truck and got her first business credit card! As a major accomplishment, Deddle's Donuts has made it past the three-year mark.