Brodie Hock: Creating A 'Better Way to Donut'By Audrey Wierenga on February 13, 2020
When going into Bro's Doughs, a new donut shop by Knapp's Crossing in Grand Rapids, Mich., one shouldn't just expect flavors like chocolate, vanilla and sprinkles. While those donuts are still featured on the menu, customers can also expect to see flavors like Dutch crumb, café latte and strawberry Toaster Strudel.
Brodie Hock (B.A. ’06), also known as "Bro," saw an opportunity for a better donut shop in Grand Rapids. Ever since growing up on Michigan's east side and frequenting a local 24-hour donut shop, he has loved the sweet treat. He came to Grand Rapids for college, but his love for donuts didn't stop there.
"As a student at Cornerstone University," Hock said, "I would go to Meijer and get the reduced-price donuts that were expiring that day. I would take them back to campus and microwave them to warm them up."
That experience—a hot, fresh donut—is what Hock wanted to bring to Grand Rapids with Bro's Doughs. He and his wife, Meghan (B.A. ’10) moved back to Grand Rapids in fall 2019 after spending a few years in Kalamazoo.
"We wanted to move back to Grand Rapids," Hock said. "The area is booming, and we wanted to start a business. We just weren't sure what we wanted it to be."
After a disappointing experience at a donut shop, Hock realized what would become the tagline of his own store. "I thought to myself, 'there's got to be a better way to donut.'" He said. "I wanted Bro's Doughs to be a better experience overall. Not just hot, fresh donuts, but also being greeted with a smile as you walk through the door. The whole experience should be better."
Bro's Doughs opened in January 2020. Hock knew it would be successful since the shop is surrounded by stores and restaurants, but he had no idea how successful. Local news outlets and Cornerstone alumni helped spread the word about the shop, and so far, business is booming.
"It's a great problem to have," Hock said. "We have been open for two weeks, and we are already into the second round of hiring."
The store is simple—only 750 square feet, with a few tables and chairs, but customers can watch their treats being made on the other side of the counter, fresh to order, just for them.
"You'll get the same donut 10 minutes before closing as you would 10 minutes after opening," Hock said.
The freshness of the donuts and the unique creations are big draws to Bro's Doughs. Hock said creating the 50 available flavors was a lot of trial and error but definitely worth it. He also said that customers can expect more rotating flavors in the future. In the meantime, Hock and his family are making friends with the owners of other local stores. Next store to Bro's Doughs are, ironically, a health food restaurant and a fitness center, among others.
"When I was in college, this side of Knapp's corner was all trees," Hock said. "This side of town has really grown up, and it's great to be right down the road from Cornerstone. I've been able to reconnect with people I went to school with. I've seen some of my old professors come in here, too."
Bro's Doughs is open Tuesday through Saturday from 6:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. For more information, visit their website.