published Tuesday, July 26th, 2011

Tennessee-based Monkey Town Donuts hits the road

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    Kris Spengler, co-owner of Monkey Town Donuts, pours batter into a doughnut maker during the 24th Scopes Heritage Festival. Photo by Kimberly McMillian
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  • Name: Monkey Town Donuts

  • Location: A Dayton, Tenn.-based mobile business at festivals and at the Chattanooga Market

  • Product: Minidoughnuts sprinkled with a cinnamon-sugar topping

  • Owners: Kris and Jennifer Spengler

  • Inspiration behind the name: Dayton's Scopes Trial history contributed to the company's name. The idea for selling doughnuts was inspired from a Seattle market that Kris Spengler frequented, and he wanted to relive that "childhood remembrance."

  • Startup investment: Nearly $15,000 invested when the business began two months ago. The couple said they hope to break even in the first year.

  • Price: A half dozen for $3, a dozen for $4 and a Monkey Donut two-dozen bucket for $6. The business is a Tennessee-licensed company, Jennifer Spengler said, and they could travel across the state for corporate or private venues.

  • Target market: "Kids love it," she said. Kris Spengler added that anyone who's "old enough to eat" would enjoy the miniature treats, which he said have a more nutritional value than a granola bar because they're made from wheat and fried in soybean oil.

  • Biggest reward: Jennifer Spengler said the reward for them is to have the opportunity of working with each other. Her husband added that for them to own a business "that's ours and [something] we've always wanted" is a dream coming true.

  • Biggest hurdle: "The heat at markets" can sometimes affect business and deter people from eating sweets, Kris Spengler said.

  • Challenges: To "make a good product that people will come back to," is its own challenge, he said, in addition to competing with other vendors at markets and festivals.

  • Five-year goal: They agreed that expansion into a small store, similar to a popular hamburger drive-through, is their goal while continuing to make a profit along the way.

-- Kimberly McMillian is based in Rhea County. Contact her at

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