Former Harold's to be a house for donuts again

2013-03-30T00:15:00Z 2013-03-30T01:00:51Z Former Harold's to be a house for donuts againBy THERESA CHURCHILL -- H&R Senior Writer

DECATUR — When Lori George’s dad bought Decatur’s Golden Glaze Donuts in 1973, his competitors included Mister Donut, Vanzetti’s Bakery and what soon became known as Harold’s House of Donuts.

About all she remembers is that her father, Donald Sterling, was good friends with Harold Allison. That and helping the girls at Golden Glaze, then located at 1500 N. Water St., put sprinkles on the doughnuts at night.

“I was 7 and thought I was a big shot,” George said.

Fast-forward 40 years, and George and her husband, Dean, are about to take the family business across town and set up shop in the former Harold’s, shuttered since 2008, and bring the familiar, large-windowed A-frame back to life with customers, pastry and coffee.

Today is the last day of business for Golden Glaze Donuts at 3755 E. William Street Road, its home since 1996. The first day operating at 2779 N. Water St. is expected to happen toward the middle of next week.

“It’s a better opportunity,” George said during a break from getting the shop’s new home ready. “This place is known for doughnuts, and we want to keep that tradition going.”

Allison, now 87, predicts a successful merger of the two doughnut traditions.

“We had a good business there,” he said. “The only reason I gave it up is I got to be an old man.”

Deciding to go into business for himself, Allison put his experience constructing houses to good use after having an architect design his building with a high ceiling, picture windows and a drive-through.

Owning the building free and clear, he opened his Spudnuts franchise in 1970, did well selling the company’s chewy potato doughnuts, then after five years renamed the business after himself and added a grill for serving breakfast and lunch.

Harold’s was a popular morning gathering place for decades.

Sterling, on the other hand, sold real estate before he began operating a series of Golden Glaze Donut shops, first in Decatur and then in Venice, Fla., before returning to Decatur and reopening another shop in 1993.

“He had a passion for making great doughnuts and pleasing the customers,” George said. “He always called the little girls who came in Gertrude and the little boys Sam. That way he always remembered their names.”

Sterling turned over most of the responsibility for the shop to his daughter and son-in-law in 1996. He died in 2011.

Lori and Dean George plan to offer a variety of breakfast food, along with doughnuts, and add lunch to the menu soon.

Right now, they’re busy replacing booths with tables, hanging curtains, trying to make the most of every inch of limited kitchen space and getting Harold’s original doughnut maker, which cost him $20,000 in 1969, up and running.

The hours, initially, will be 5 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 6 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday. The telephone number will remain 475-1828.

“This business is something that was dear to my dad, and it’s a passion of mine,” Lori George said. “Doughnuts are what I know.”|(217) 421-7978

Copyright 2015 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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