Reopening of Mas Donuts and shares the new name of Grandma’s Donuts and Coffee
NEW BEDFORD – “Ma’s” is now “Grandma’s”.
The historic pastry shop unveiled a new name, introduced a donut truck, and quietly served the community with backdoor pop-ups at its Acushnet Ave location. as she takes a big step forward towards reopening.
âThe experience of trying to get to where I am now has been a fun experience, but also a very empowering one,â said Hannah Lemieux, 20, owner of Hannah’s Kitchen and now Grandma’s Donuts & Coffee Shop. .
âThe positivity and gratitude we receive from our customers are worth it. “
On July 2, 2016, residents of New Bedford mourned the loss of Ma’s Donuts when owners Ed and Sheila (the ‘grandmother’ of the name) Lemieux decided to retire.
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For the past three years, Hannah Lemieux has been selling pastries, muffins, turnovers and cheese rolls at her father’s establishment, The Boat Restaurant. Lemieux is a fifth generation baker.
âAs a child, I grew up watching my grandparents and my parents work here and have always had an interest in the restaurant industry,â she said. “When my grandparents closed their doors in 2016, I knew then that I didn’t want to see this business or its legacy disappear.”
In February 2021, Lemieux announced on social media that she was learning how to create her family’s prized donuts and was preparing to reopen the store. The announcement has thrilled the SouthCoast community.
âTrying to learn this trade from my grandfather and my parents, while also trying to be a single mom was tough, but I’m starting to see the value of this struggle paying off now,â she said. .
“She does it, learning from my dad until she perfects a product,” Hannah’s dad Scott Lemieux said in a previous interview with Standard-Times. “She doesn’t want to sell a product until it is perfected … She has a big heart and a passion for this profession.”
Sudden roadblock delays reopening
In May 2021, just before a planned reopening, the 66-year-old donut shop faced legal issues that postponed everything.
Ma’s Donuts received a cease and desist agreement from Ma’s Donuts and More in Middletown, Rhode Island, which claimed the copyright to the name “Ma’s Donuts”.
âIt was just heartbreaking. It’s our family’s legacy, âsaid Scott Lemieux.
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âI have a mark. And that was done in 2017 while they were closed, âsaid Middletown owner Valdemar Leite during a brief phone call with The Standard-Times in May, before quickly disconnecting.
âNo matter what I call itâ¦ we could call it ‘No Name Donuts’â¦ I could take the building’s name off and customers are still going to call it Ma’s Donuts and they are still going to introduce themselves,â Scott Lemieux said in a previous interview.
âIt’s not a question of money. It’s about the experienceâ¦ the next generation.
Try to always serve donuts
Still, Hannah Lemieux began serving a limited amount of donuts through her online business, Hannah’s Kitchen. Lemieux said that each time they would sell the donuts almost immediately.
Word spread quickly, causing confusion about Ma’s reopening, and people began to show up at the closed Acushnet Avenue site.
âJust to clear the air, ‘Ma’s Original’ isn’t open yet,â Lemieux wrote in a Facebook post on May 16. daytime.”
Finally, in August, a new Ma’s Original Facebook page was created, with updates on a donut truck “in the works” and a reopening to follow.
They were quickly hit by another obstacle. In September, the Middletown donut store sued Lemieux again for the name “Ma’s Original” as copyright infringement.
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âOur beloved donut shop doesn’t seem to have a break as it spends thousands and thousands of dollars on legal fees just to reopen its donut shop,â writes Jenny Clark, a friend of Lemieux’s, who created a page GoFundMe to help him.
“If they lose this battle, not only do they have to come up with a new name a second time, pay all the legal bills, but they have to redo the food truck and all the advertising that has already been paid for.”
Ma’s Donuts of Middletown did not respond to The Standard-Times for comment.
Pop-ups invite large crowds
On October 10, Lemieux posted on her Facebook page that she was offering donuts on a first come, first served basis at the back door of the original store every Sunday. Lemieux said her first pop-up met a large crowd and sold out in less than an hour.
âI’ve learned that no matter how many hours we spend here, we can never do enough,â Lemieux said with a laugh.
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Fans of the donut shop immediately took to social media. “Ma’s is back” posted Ross Brown. “Childhood memories come back after having them. It’s going to be a thing every Sunday as long as they have them!”
Hannah’s Kitchen Facebook page receives an average of 150-200 comments and 600 to 800 likes per post on its donuts.
Ma has a new name
On October 18, the Lemieux family lost their legal battle over the name âMa’s Originalâ. âWe still had to change the name of our establishment,â Hannah Lemieux wrote on her page. “Please indulge us as we are doing our best to overcome these obstacles and we are now seeing some light at the end of the tunnel.”
On November 6, Lemieux hosted their first event by showcasing their donut truck and unveiling the store’s new name: Grandma’s Donuts.
âI’m so impressed with this whole name change,â Miriam Riding posted on Facebook. “this logo !!! A very moving tribute, but one that makes me smile. Excellent work.”
Lemieux drove the truck around New Bedford stopping at St. Luke’s Hospital and the New Bedford Police Department.
Although the location of Ma’s Acushnet Ave. is still not officially open – with the exception of weekly pop-ups – Lemieux said she is working on a more formal schedule soon. Meanwhile, if you see her truck, she encourages you to wave her down.
“We want this establishment to be a staple in the community for generations to come. We want all of our customers to know how much we love and appreciate all of their support, encouragement and above all their love and loyalty,” he said. she declared.
“We really want this place to be everyone’s go-to place for family treats and donuts.”
Standard-Times team writer Seth Chitwood can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on twitter: @ChitwoodReports. Support local journalism by purchasing a digital or print subscription to The Standard-Times today.