Menomonie donut shop, Donut Sam’s, employs teens with special needs

Local News

MENOMONIE, Wis. (WLAX/WEUX) – A new donut shop is open in Menomonie. First News at Nine’s Carla Rogner shares how the owners hope to use the sweet treats as a way to bridge the gap of opportunity for teens with special needs.

“Donut Sam’s is a unique family owned business in Menomonie since March. We are more than just donuts,” said Donut Sam’s co-owner, Tanya Husby.

Named for and inspired by their son.

Donut Sam’s is a dream come true for co-owners Mike and Tanya Husby.

“So, our youngest son is going to be 13 soon and when he was 5 or 6, we started to think somewhere down the road we need to find a business Sam can work at,” said Mike Husby.

Tanya Husby said, “We have a desire to upscale kiddos with special needs when they get to that transition age and help them find a nice spot in our community for employment.”

The Husbys hope to give kids like Sam, who has down syndrome, a chance to learn professional skills.

Husby said, “We explored bagel shops even laundromats. Just anything where he could have a purpose because once he is out of high school what is he going to do? He needs an opportunity to do something constructive on a daily basis.”

When Sam isn’t in school, he works at the shop with his family.

Tanya Husby said, “His favorite things to do are to make boxes. He has also gotten really good at cinnamon sugar donuts.”

Decorating and serving up donuts along with other employees.

“We have also hired a young lady with special needs too. She is our ‘donut diva’.”

Though opening the business hasn’t gone exactly as planned.

“March 23, we opened and closed on the same day,” said the Husbys.

An official Grand Re Opening is planned once COIVID-19 cases taper down.

“It is almost like 2020 is kind of a practice year,” said Mike Husby.

The Husbys have big plans for Donut Sam’s.

Tanya Husby said, “I would love to see us have an internship just like regular kids have internships.”

Eventually hoping to add more breakfast items to the menu as they serve up more opportunities for teens like their son.

Reporting in Menomonie, Carla Rogner, First News at Nine.

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