Next Dough Neighbor located in Camas, WA creates hand-made, gourmet doughnuts from scratch. Using only the highest quality ingredients in all of their products, often using organic produce from local suppliers whenever available to make most delicious doughnuts in Camas, WA. You won’t find any pre-made flour mixes or long lists of ingredients you can’t pronounce.
Tell us about the background of Next Dough Neighbor and how it came to be.
I’m Josh, I’m the owner of Next Dough Neighbor. I started this business in 2019 as I was just looking for a creative outlet to start my own business. I’ve wanted to start a business since I was 18 but I never did anything about it. So several years later, in my 30s I finally figured out nothing’s going to happen if I never do anything about it. So I just decided, I wanted to start a business.
I just started just testing, bringing samples to work and having other employees try them out. Hey, these are really good you should actually turn this into a real business. So I started selling donuts to employees at work at Trader Joe’s working there for last eight years. That was where my first customers came from.
Out of all the food staples, you could have started anything. What made you choose donuts?
Oddly enough, I’m actually, I consider myself a much better chef than Baker. I’d actually never even made a donut until I started this. I just thought there are so many fun combinations you can do with donuts and people love them. They’re exciting. And I know they’re popular in the Portland area, but there’s not much of a doughnut presence in Southern Washington not even a donut shop at all on Camas, WA. So I thought that’d be a great new business I can bring to downtown Camus.
I just decided I need to pick something. I’ve had several other food concept ideas, but I just needed to narrow it down and just focus on one thing in order to get the business going.
Did you end up like starting out of your own kitchen or straight to a shared space?
I started out in my own kitchen at first and started posting on Instagram account to a small following initially. It sounds sketchy when I say it, but I was selling donuts out of the back of my van in the park by the lake. I would drive it to whichever business I would do a pop-up shop. So I did my first pop-up shop in December of 2019 in Downtown Camas.
How did you grow your business?
I would canvas around Downtown Camas businesses asking if they’d be interested in letting me do a pop-up shop. I had my first pop-up shop and a bunch of my friends from work came and I didn’t know what to expect. I made about 350 donuts and I’ll be enough like sold out pretty quickly. Just from the crowds coming in, just for the beer, just for the festivities Downtown Camas. I wasn’t expecting this at all.
Transcript Welcome to Clark County insider this week, we're talking to Josh Grosman, founder of next door neighbor, a business that creates handmade Gorman doors from scratch right here in canvas Washington, using only the highest quality ingredients in all of their products. You won't find any playmates, flour mixes, or a long list of ingredients that you just can't pronounce. Let's go chat with him. I'm Josh, I'm the owner of next door neighbor. And I started this business in 2019 as I was just looking for a creative outlet to start my own business. I've wanted to start a business pretty much since I was 18 and I never did anything about it. So several years later in my thirties now I finally figured out nothing's going to happen if I never do anything about it. So I just decided. I wanted to start a business. And I just started just testing now, bringing it to work and having other employees to try them out. And they're, Hey, these are really good. Should actually turn this into a real business. So I started selling donuts to my employees at work. Just now put a little note on the break room door with know donuts, sign up sheet, and then A lot of the employees there would sign up. And that was, those were my first customers with this discipline. My other peers pretty much from work or new for there. I work at trader Joe's. Just it's the one over in Vancouver. How long have you been working there for? Now location two years, but trader Joe's in general. Eight years. Oh, wow. Yeah. So I've moved around to a few different trader Joe's. Out of all the food staples, you could have started anything really. Yeah. What made you choose donuts? Oddly enough, I'm actually, I consider myself a much better chef than Baker. I'd actually have a really big much on, I never even made a note until I started this. But I just thought they're just so many fun combinations you can do with donuts and people love them. They're exciting. And I know they're popular in the Portland area, but there's not much of a doughnut presence in Southern Washington. And there's not even a donut shop at all on camera. So I thought that'd be a great new business I can bring to downtown Camus. I just decided I need to pick something. I've had several other food concept ideas, but I just needed to narrow it in and start simple and just focus on one thing in order to get the business going. So just like when you started it, did you end up like starting out of your own kitchen or straight to a shared space? I started out in my own kitchen. So at first I was just making them in my kitchen started a Instagram account just a really small following initially. And it was started posting them on Instagram for sale. And it sounds sketchy when I say it, but I was selling donuts out of the back of my van in the park, by the Lake. And initially it sounds funny when you say it, but know once people look to the parking lot in this song, we got to chat and I explained who I was and I'm just, this was about people were really receptive of it. And my Instagram following grew. And then I realized, okay, I need to find some commercial kitchen space. If I actually want to do this, I can make them out of my home here. You're not supposed to do the business that way legally. So I found a kitchen in with Google. She will times as a restaurant in with Google and they allowed me to rent a kitchen space from them. So I was making my donuts and which kind of built like a makeshift donut rack in the back of my van. So I make them in which you will vote on my van and then I would drive it to whichever business I would do a pop-up shop. So I did my first pop-up shop in December of 2019 at a beer at a time in downtown Camus. So I was just started walking around to downtown businesses. In canvas and asking if they'd be interested in letting me do a pop-up shop explained, I have this new donut business. And first question I walked into was a beer at a time and owner there Shelby super kind, really cool. And, or even had to explain that whole schpiel. I had this, you were ready to go. She's absolutely. Let's do it. So it was the night of the Christmas tree lighting and Nantong camera. So I had my first pop-up shop and but a bunch of my friends from work came and I didn't know what to expect. I made about 350 donuts and I'll be enough like sold out pretty quickly. Just from the crowds coming in, just for the beer, just for the festivities downtown canvas. And I was like, Holy crap, I wasn't expecting this at all. Then there was another business owner saw the crowds that were I was attracted and he offered to host me at his location in downtown cameras. And that was Kevin, the owner of core industries. And they do general contracting and his nice little showroom in downtown campus. So the following first Friday he hosted me in his location and we did a cool promotion where he actually bought all the donuts. Vanessa, I made as many donuts as I could possibly make. I made 500 donuts that night and just gave them away. So he paid for all the donuts. And so it was a great promotion for me. Tons of new customers came in for first, Friday and downtown. Canada's also brought tons of new customers in the, his shop as well. So as a really cool business partnership that we formed together. And so that was the second pop-up shop I did was inside his court industry showroom. And then from there, lots of other businesses start to see these crowds that I was at attracting, and I've gotten several very kind of offers from off to local businesses offering to host me inside there. There are shops in downtown cameras. So I went from having really nowhere to sell my donuts out of, to having tons of businesses just offering their space to me, which was really cool. So I've been go and make notice and with Google loaded up my van and every either Friday or Saturday or Sunday morning, set up a different pop-up shop around town and downtown, it's pretty exciting. And this was all pre COVID. It's really exciting to see too cars. I wasn't expecting this at all, but after I was doing my probably second or third pop-up shop and beginning set up there in the morning for open come from my friends that were helping to, Hey there's like a line growing outside and I looked out there and the line was going all the way down the block around the corner. I was like, Holy crap. This is crazy. I wasn't expecting that. And so pretty much every pop-up shop I did from there on out. It was, I'd sell out of 400 to 500 donuts within an hour. Pretty much as fast as we can box them up and make them we were selling out. So it was it quickly grew this through Instagram and word of mouth and just the hype around this new donut business in town. It was pretty exciting to see also pre COVID. It was a completely different setup too. And I had a plexiglass, sneeze guard and then my table but had all been under, I was out. Just open on the trays and that we would box them up as people order them has gone really well initially for, December through March. And then COVID had, and I didn't really know what to do at that point because how my business was there was large crowds and everything was out. Being boxed up as we did at which, which would no longer work. So I shut my business down for actually about eight months. I'm trying to figure out how to, how I get back into the business. There's definitely a long hiatus there where I just didn't really know what to do or how to get the business up and running again because the pop-up shop model that I had was no longer. Safe model anymore. And how to think about it, figuring out how to come back. So basically you guys had to think outside the box until the donut box. Yeah. So one of the ways that I was able to figure out how to come back into business was I needed to build a website. I didn't have a website prior to this. One of my computer savvy buddies from work. Build a website for me, where initially when I first came back, it was just all pre-orders only that way, everything, when people came in, it was already boxed up. Nobody was going to any cash cards or anything like that. They pretty much come in number the name. I checked them off the list and they're good to go. So that was how I initially first came back into business was just, pre-orders only from then. But let's go. Don't want to have to pre-order donuts like a week ahead of time. By a certain amount. I've been one to partial pre-orders and then I started boxing up all my doughnuts individually. So even if you do come in to the shop just for walk-ins right now every single donut, whether you get like a customer four-pack or an individual on it, they're already all boxed up individual clamshells, which makes it really fast for serving cheek. To be honest, I have not one out of each flavor on display, and then they can tell me that I can just. Pretty much handed to them. It's already boxed up. Ready to go. So it makes for very quick service. So I need to figure out how to do quick service, but also safe service at the same time. So do you guys ship them? I don't ship them now because they're meant to be eaten same day. There's no preservatives in them. By the time it got shipped anywhere, it wouldn't be fresh unless it was getting shipped to you same day, which isn't worth the cost to delivery as an option that I'd like to look at in the near future. But right now I don't do shipping, but definitely delivery is on my radar for sure. Okay. Let's go back a little bit. So was this your very first business you started? This was my first business. Sorry. Yes. That's impressive. Yeah. Lines out the door. It's pretty exciting. How quickly it took off. Yeah. People love donuts. How did you come up with a, such a cool name next yeah. So once I figured out I wanted to do notes and I was working on the product I was just sitting on the couch one night next to my wife and just brainstorm some ideas, scrolling Instagram, just not thinking of ideas. And then it started as laughing out loud to myself. I was like, honey, I got it. The next door neighbor. She's that's perfect. So it just it's a fun name I had once I figured out the name. I had one of the artists from trader Joe's. My buddy Casia, she's just super talented artists. She designed the logo for me. Once we finalize that I got to trademark cause I was like this name and the logo is too good. I need to get a trademark. Yeah. So we'll move forward with that. And I registered for an LLC and not a trademark that just made it into an official business. Yeah, that name is brilliant, man. It's so unique hear it all the time , once you trademark that you own that and you don't come across cool names like that too often, part of my marketing strategy as well people want a fun, cool name that kind helps with the business and the customers. You guys do really good with Instagram, those pictures you post, there, you just look at them and you're Let's take you back when you were 18 year old self, what would you tell yourself? Did you even imagine starting this business or any business whatsoever? Yeah, no, that's a great question. I'm glad you asked it because yes, I did plan on starting a business. I didn't know what it was going to be a donut business, but I've always had an entrepreneurial mindset. I've also always been passionate about food. And if I could tell my 18 year old self something, it would be. To go for it then at that time I might've started maybe when I was early twenties, perhaps during college or right out of college. When I had a lot more free time and more disposable income, honestly, to start a business. Cause I really wanted to start one when I was in my young twenties and even 18 really. And I just never did anything about it. And I've had lots of different business ideas and different concepts I've made up of business plans and just never moved forward with them. And just to see how far I've come in a year and a half to know how far I could've come in 10 or 15 years had I started 10 or 15 years ago. So I would definitely tell myself to start then because it takes time to build a brand and a product and the more time and effort you've put into it, the further it's gonna go. So I definitely wish I would have started a long time ago, but also I know it's not too late to start now. And when I first started this, I said, Hey, I'm just gonna try this out for six months and just see what happens, and do it for six months and see where it goes. And sure enough, just within a few months of really putting effort into it, it started to take off. So now I'm just super motivated to see the potential that it has after just the short amount of time. Because I don't even have my own shop yet. I'm still sharing space, but just to know where I've come in, just the short time to where I want to be, my goal was to have. In my own shop, downtown campus originally then multiple shops just in greater Clark County and then eventually a franchise into a gourmet donut business because there's not one really that exists right now. There's lots of chain doughnut businesses, and there's also some of the donut shops that have multiple locations, but not necessarily franchise on a large scale. So I think I have a unique product that I would really like to be able to provide to the masses. Yeah, I wish I would've started earlier, but yeah, I'm glad I'm going for it now, though. Yeah. Makes sense. Being a small business owner is not an easy task. No, it's not, but what surprised you the most when you did start this business? Just that the positive response from people and. Seeing but when I saw the lines going down the block and I wrapped around the corner for donuts, just to know that people were excited for this product, that's donuts, aren't a new concept. But to have these gourmet doughnuts that are made from non-GMO high quality ingredients, often organic ingredients as well. I was actually a little bit concerned about my price points which are direct three, four, and $5 donuts. But that's just the price I have to charge with the ingredients. And the time that goes into this, there's nothing pre-made here. It's a very long process to make the product that I'm making. So I was a little bit concerned that people might not pay that price. But I was very pleasantly surprised that people were very happy to do so it was it was a pleasant surprise. Yeah. Yeah. I was like, you're a busy guy. You got a job. Then you got this business going on. These sleep at night. Actually no, sometimes I don't sleep so recently I've actually been able to go to sleep on the weekends. So when I first started doing this, I actually would have to stay up. The whole night to do the donut making process. We start around like nine or 10:00 PM and just barely be finishing around like 8:00 AM to open for the pop-up shop. So initially it was just myself and one other chefs doing it together. So you, no, I wasn't kidding my full-time job during the week. And then on the weekend I work even harder. So I still have to go back to work in the week to get some rest. Yeah. So only recently I've actually been able to go to sleep on the weekend. I now have three employees, so I have a patient up into other kitchen staff who are now able to help me. I go there and I help with the prep work. I, all the ways isn't the flavors are everything. How I want it set for business. Then they're able to do the overnight shift without me now. So I can actually go to sleep and come back in the morning. Just help finish up. Make sure everything's good to go. So it's really nice to be all go to sleep now. So w what keeps you like inspired and motivated to continue on with little sleep, but a lot of hard work? Is it that vision that you have for your team for your business? Or is it just like this inside just drive that you have? It's a combination of those things. That's one, I just I've had the inside drive to start my own business and. It's super exciting to see the results when you put in the work. So to see what's already happened, that's motivating just to see the progress already. Also I have a goal in mind that I want to have my own business and I want to grow into a large scale from there. I'm really only partially to, to where I want to be. Also just having two young daughters now to show them that, if you're passionate about something and you put in the work, you can really do whatever you want. And it's exciting to show them what I've created already. You see the excitement that they have when I have to bring home the donuts and they can say, Hey, daddy owns a donut shop. And it's just, it's exciting to show your kids that you can create your own business and build your own brand. So just between my kids and this my own motivation to have my own company just keeps me going and just passion about food in general. Yeah. Makes sense. Leave a legacy exactly. Yeah. Okay. Yeah. Makes sense. And you guys are getting, you said you guys are located in Camus. Yeah. We're located in downtown camera's downtown Kansas has a really cool small business street. If you will, pretty much, one street with this, a couple of little outskirts and it's all small local businesses. So the downtown campus business community is really close together and that they all support each other. And within downtown campus, there's Cedar street bagel and the owners of Cedar street bagel were kind enough to reach out to me and offer me pretty much a permanent space within their shop on the weekends. So I store all my equipment there and once they leave on Friday evenings, it's a donut shop takeover, and we use their space, which is really great to not have to transport my product to a different location every week. It was nice to go to store there and keep it in one spot, make it and sell it out of one location which I wasn't doing prior to COVID stuff. And it's nice to have a permanent home for now. So people can always visit your shop on the weekends, right? Yes. Yeah. Okay. So my current business hours are just Saturdays from 8:00 AM to 11:00 AM. I do recommend that people pre-order because we often sell out fairly early. We open at 8:00 AM and usually from eight to 9:30 AM we go through a good majority of the donuts then from nine 30 to 11 there's still some left, but it's more splint paintings if you will. Yeah. I'd say half the customers pre-order and the other half do walk-ins. So at six 30, have the option for both, but it's definitely recommended to either pre-order or getting there early. And people can just pre-order online. Just, yeah, they can go to the next door, neighbor.com to pre-order. And also if they follow me on Instagram or Facebook, the link to my website and just write in the profile, man, I still can't believe you got such a nice name and a domain name with it. I lucked out there. That's awesome, man. Good for you. If you're there in the morning, he'll come and grab herself now bagel and a cup of coffee, but really just walking downtown campus. It's fun because you can. You do the whole thing on foot and you can check it out fairly quickly. Cause it's really small. So I would definitely recommend us cruising on foot and checking it out. There's plenty of places for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, all walkable distance. Some people even do just little weekend getaways at the Camus hotels, cute little boutique hotel, right in downtown campus. You can walk downstairs in the morning and just cruise the streets, get yourself into some breakfast. Natalie's cafe go to cafe Piccolo, get a coffee, Tommy. It was right below the hotel. So there's so many options in downtown cameras just to walk in and check out. So it's a fun little town. Yeah. And do you know, are there any plans for it to grow downtown Camus? Expand that? Not that I know of specifically. Perhaps one day, if the mill is ever gone, this is really no more real estate in downtown campus. Downtown campus is pretty full already. So in less and less than one day, the mill was no longer. There that'd be the only other downtown real estate then that exists. But I don't know if that would ever happen so Georgia Pacific, I think that paper mill, right? Yeah. So you have a lot of their workers, employees come and visit all the local shops there in chemists I would assume so because it's such a large business and It's directly across from daily Jonas. Yeah. So I would assume so excited. It's employs so many people that, a lot of them, support local business and that's, what's really cool about the local businesses in Canada stuff. They all support each other and shop local and support local. So it was definitely a tight business bond from the local businesses and downtown campus. Yeah. And your personal, like opinion. Why do you think it's important for people to shop local? I know being a local business, we're all supporters of that where let's, shop local, but like your personal take on it, your opinion. I think shopping local is super important cause that's really the only way that. Small businesses can survive. Yeah, pretty much all your local business pretty much comes from local customers and most local businesses aren't doing online. And it's not some part I could do some online sales, but mostly it does take shopping local and going into your local shop to support it. So I think when you are a small business owner, you understand the importance of meeting support local. So you're more willing to support local businesses as well. When I'm looking for a product or a gift or even going to it, it's important to me to pick a local business. So as often as I can, I like to shop local and support local as well. Some of my supplies after, get them as local as I can. I know sometimes I have to drive to Oregon, which is local ish, but. But, as, as local as I can support I tried to, or else we were no small businesses will survive if we don't support each other. That's been a really cool thing about starting a business too, is. I've met hundreds of people, mostly other small business owners, and just seeing that tight knit crowd that small businesses have for one another. It's been super cool to see so many local businesses reach out to me now. And offer to do a pop-up shop in their space, or, tons of coffee shops, reached out hoping to carry my product in their coffee shops, which I hope to eventually when I can produce it at a large enough scale for them when I have my own space, but it's just been super cool to see the support of local businesses and build all these relationships with local businesses that I would never would have built. Had I not started the business. I used to shop around downtown campus, but I never really had these. Friendships and business relationships prior to starting a business. So it's been really fun just to see the local support from other business owners as well. So I really enjoyed that a lot. If you guys find this interesting and you guys love to support local businesses, give next door neighbor a try they're out in Camus and I'm sure you guys won't regret it. They have awesome donuts and other things. But again, go visit, check it out yourself and let me know how it is.