North Reading will get another coffee and doughnut alternative later this month when Heav'nly Donuts opens at the corner of Main and Winter streets.
“The donuts are simply out-of-this world,” said Mark Lee, who will operate and co-owns the North Reading store with his father Robert M. Lee. Lee said the store plans to open the third week of May.
“We haven’t settled for an exact date yet,” he said, but hopes to have a date for a grand opening within the coming week. Lee said that the store is still finishing “odds and ends” before opening, such as installing countertops and point of sale systems.
Heav’nly Donuts was started by George Saragas using knowledge he gained working for other companies. The local chain is headquartered in Methuen and also has locations in Lawrence, Haverhill, Salem, NH, and Plaistow, NH. The family-owned business has been rolling, frying, and filling the sweet pastries for 31 years.
The Lees decided to open a branch in North Reading because of its accessibility, proximity to routes 28 and 62, and because they felt that North Reading was an “up-and-coming” community, according to Mark Lee.
“We recognized right off the bat that it was just a phenomenal location,” he said.
Lee also said that the town was “fantastic” to work with and was very accommodating toward accepting a new business.
“You can’t do much better than the board of North Reading, they were so helpful,” said Lee.
After buying the vacant Dunkin Donuts' location, Lee bought half of the adjoining lot for additional room and parking. The building will feature televisions, free WiFi, seating for 30, and a drive-thru, which can accommodate up to 16 cars, according to Lee.
“Obviously, we’ll never get to that,” said Lee of the number of cars in the drive-thru, “we’ll get people moved through very quickly.”
Lee hopes that the cars parked in the lot and the patrons they bring to the store will also bring business to the town. He mentioned that he had been asked by people from towns as far away as Winchendon when the North Reading location would be open, a sign of the popularity of the Heav’nly brand.
“We want to bolster the local economy,” he said. To further this, Lee said they used a lot of local contractors for work on the building, and have hired many North Reading residents to work in the store.
Lee also said that the store is finished with the highest-grade materials possible, from tile work, to cherry woodwork—not cherry veneer—to a mural on the entryway ceiling.
“It is an absolutely gorgeous facility,” said Lee. “Even the bathrooms are absolutely gorgeous. Everything is state-of-the-art.”
Lee said that the building is set up so that it can serve those who need to grab a quick coffee on the way to work, or those who want to sit and stay awhile.
“We want to give them the best possible experience,” he said. “It’s warm, it’s inviting. We’re never going to rush anybody. They come in and stay as long as they want, and I think they’re really going to enjoy it.”
The Heav’nly chain was the winner of the NECN “Baby You’re the Best” award for the region’s best donuts. Heav’nly Donuts beat out Congdon Donuts from Wells, ME, for the top spot.
The location offers 15 varieties of New England Coffee, brewed around the clock, and served fresh.
They also offer numerous homemade baked goods ranging from mainstays like muffins, and numerous varieties of bagels, to pastries and breakfast sandwiches. The doughnuts are made the “old-fashioned” way, according to the shop’s website, and come in 35 different flavors, which they “can't keep...on the shelves.”
For Lee, the doughnuts simply speak for themselves.
“I’ll tell you...once you have it, I promise you, the next time you see a competitor you’ll think twice, and you’ll really wish there is a Heav’nly close by.”
As for now, Lee said he is on site often as the final touches are put on the building. When the shop opens, Lee hopes to bring a great doughnut and store to the people.
“The biggest thing we are striving for is...product that is second to none,” he said.