Alongside her family, Hey Chav spent more than 20 years running the east-side Donut Wheel that the community came to know and love.
When she was told last year that she couldn’t renew her lease, Chav had to close down. Hundreds of Tucsonans commented on social media posts announcing the closure. The community was devastated.
“It’s very sad because of everything we put in there — we worked so long and so hard,” Chav says. “Everybody was a family, with customers we know. It’s like kicking us out of the house.”
But on 4:30 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 9, Donut Wheel — now called K Donut Wheel after Chav’s nickname — is opening its doors in a new location just a mile down the road. It’ll be open 4:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily after that.
“(Customers) were sad to have us go but we were giving them hope that we were relocating to a new place and they were happy and couldn’t wait to find out where it was,” Chav says.
The new location at 2775 S. Wilmot Road was built from the ground up. Chav knew she wanted a freestanding structure so they could build a drive-thru, which is something a lot of customers requested. It was also important to stay on the east side, close to their former spot at 2630 S. Kolb Road which is now slated to become a Starbucks.
“We wanted to be closer to the area where we were before so the customer doesn’t have to go search for us,” she says. “Being close, everyone will come and won’t have to travel far.”
With the new location comes a new menu that includes boba tea and espresso — and the doughnuts east-siders have fallen in love with.
“We had the Donut Wheel before — we had experience before,” Chav says. “We got our own recipe that makes the doughnuts last longer, softer. And because of the way we make (the doughnuts), they stay soft for long and it tastes different than other places. It’s the taste itself that is different so (customers) can’t wait to get that. When we closed down, they said they didn’t know where to go now.”
Although Chav hoped she’d be able to open K Donut Wheel sooner, construction delays pushed the date back. She said she couldn’t wait to finally announce the grand opening date to the community.
“To see the people again that we recognize — it’s exciting. It’s like a family,” she says. “It’s like, we were gone for a while and you come back and you see your own family.”