COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) — When looking for doughnuts, locals have plenty of options. Columbus boasts three local doughnut brands, with four stores between them, and a also number of chains. Two of the locally-owned doughnut shop locations were added this year, so what’s behind the craze?

According to representatives of Veri Best Donuts, Columbus’s Best Donuts and Golden Donut’s newest Wynnton Road location, it could come down to a few different factors.

“Everyone just likes sweets. Something easy to get and delicious,” said Charisma Johnson, a cashier at Columbus’s Best Donuts which held it’s grand opening in April. She speculated the store’s customers can feel their doughnuts are “made with love.”

Johnson noted customer favorites tend to be the shop’s glazed and blueberry cake doughnuts. She also reported a rise in purchases, saying the store already had “several hundred” customers before 11 a.m. today.

“It’s in the name, so I feel like you have to come here for the best doughnuts, the best service, everything. Everything here is just the best,” the cashier said.

At Golden Donut’s new Wynnton Road location manager Angela Majors said it was the texture of their doughnuts which set the brand apart from other local options.

“We’re the best, I’m gonna explain to you why,” said Majors, who has worked at Golden Donut for the past 20 years, “Our doughnuts are completely different from other locations – not just because I work here, I’ve tested everyone’s – ours are light and fluffy.”

Majors added many Golden Donut customers have expressed this sentiment to her. She said, “That’s why they come here. They’ll drive past any other doughnut place and come here because of this.”

The manager reported, during her eight-hour weekday morning shifts alone, the store typically sells around 1000 doughnuts. According to Majors, glazed doughnuts and apple fritters are most popular among customers.

Kristen Granberry, the owner of Veri Best Donuts located on Broadway said locals love her doughnuts because of their nostalgia factor and homemade taste. Although this location has only been around since 2021, the store first started in the Columbus area in 1954.

“I think it’s all what you have in your tastebuds and your memories and what people want to support and who they don’t want to support,” said Granberry. She explained how Veri Best makes their product in-house daily with new doughs mixed hourly, setting them apart from other options in town.

The Veri Best owner also recalled when their current location opened, people in line talked about how they were eating their doughnuts in honor of loved ones who had passed.

Despite the fact there is plenty of local competition, Granberry said it ultimately benefits her business. She used an example of hot dogs to explain, describing how if someone finds a good hot dog in town, they’ll probably also start checking out other local options to find the best.

Even if her clients try other businesses, Granberry told WRBL they “always” make their ways back, usually for the store’s cinnamon twists. She emphasized what is important to her is that Columbusites are going to local stores.

Granberry said, “I’ve always said it doesn’t matter where you’re buying your food, your drinks, your clothing, just support a local mom and pop store. Support your local people, that’s the most important thing.”