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‘Ready for Canada to try them’: Carleton Place doughnut shop strikes Dragon’s Den deal

Emma Kinsman photo

On a bustling weekday morning in downtown Carleton Place, Samantha Armstrong, owner of Holey Confections, is hard at work fulfilling orders in her beloved doughnut shop. What began as a humble Instagram venture in early 2020, born out of necessity when her husband Tyler faced a layoff, has blossomed into a thriving business with three locations.

Last month marked a monumental milestone for the Armstrongs: clinching a staggering $500,000 deal for 25 per cent of their business on Dragon’s Den, secured with the backing of esteemed investors Vincenzo Guzzo and Manjit Minhas.

Samantha Armstrong beams with gratitude as she reflects on the unwavering support of her community. Since their Dragon’s Den debut, interest surged, prompting them to double their daily dough production. “It was honestly surreal,” Samantha recalls about getting the deal. “It was such a shock.”

Holey Confections’ doughnuts are not your average treats. Crafted with locally sourced ingredients and adorned with homemade glazes, these doughnuts are 140-layer pastries. Samantha and Tyler first tried this type of doughnut when travelling. Though neither have a culinary background, they wanted to put their own unique twist on the treats. After meticulous research and experimentation, they perfected their signature recipe. Samantha also proudly introduced a vegan line to cater to diverse dietary preferences.

With laughter, Samantha recounts the six-month journey to nail down the recipe, punctuated by taste tests with friends and neighbours before their grand opening in May 2020. Now, four years later, she’s eager to share their delectable creations with doughnut enthusiasts across the country. “We’re ready for Canada to try them,” she said with a smile.

As the business continues to flourish beyond their wildest dreams, Samantha contemplates the next chapter. While the Dragon’s Den deal won’t take effect for 90 days after the episode airs, franchising looms as a long-term aspiration. However, quality is the most important thing, and they are committed to retaining hands-on control over their dough-making process. The deal serves as validation of their product and business acumen, offering reassurance that they’re on the right path.

“It’s reassuring to have someone tell you your product is good and your business is viable, just having someone tell you you did good.” Samantha reflects with a laugh.

To try a Holey Confections doughnut for yourself, visit their location at 21 Bridge Street in Carleton Place.

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