In 1939, brothers Bob and Al Pelton were hard at work in their modest neighborhood doughnut shop in Salt Lake City. They were intent on inventing a recipe for the perfect doughnut. After months of experimentation, they developed the ideal combination of select Idaho potatoes, specially blended flour, pure vegetable shortening, and rich, subtle spices. The Spudnut, named for its unique, potato-based blend of ingredients, was born and became a premium brand.
Within a few months, the Peltons entered the franchise business. The idea grew so rapidly that soon it was necessary to set up a special Franchise Department. Salt Lake City became the home base where a complete mix plant and warehouse was in operation. Shipping to distant points became an important part of the new, growing enterprise. So the Peltons looked around for a suitable distribution area. After considering many cities, they settled on Cleveland, Ohio, to act as a pivot in handling distribution throughout the east.
In the 1950s, for just $2,000, you could buy a Spudnuts franchise, which included all the equipment to make Spudnuts and three bags of Spudnut mix. To use the Spudnut name, you had to order 10 bags of Spudnut mix per week, which was shipped and delivered COD for $15 a bag from the Cleveland, Ohio, warehouse. At the time, a dozen Spudnuts cost 55 cents, which was about 15 cents more than other bakeries.
In 1952, the Peltons were now selling more than three-quarters of a million dozen Spudnuts per month and had franchised 350 shops throughout the United States, Canada, Alaska and Hawaii.
The April 1952 issue of Modern Mechanix has this and more information about the Pelton brothers and the history of the Spudnut.
The Spudnut Shop Story
In 1948, Betty and Barlow Ghirardo and Virginia and Jerry Bell purchased a Pelton franchise and opened The Spudnut Shop, which was located at the Richland "Y". Richland patrons could get their spudnut fix from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m., six days a week.
Two years later, on March 4, 1950, The Spudnut Shop moved to a 600-sq-ft location at 228 Williams in the Uptown Shopping Center. It became a hub for the community, serving hot Spudnuts 24 hours a day. The menu also expanded to include coffee, malts, shakes, and soft ice cream.
In 1965, Betty and Barlow became the sole owners of The Spudnut Shop, and in 1968, they remodeled the store to more than double the size to 1,285 square feet and adding a full lunch menu of hamburgers, deli sandwiches, and soups.
By this time, The Spudnut Shop had become a Richland institution. Barlow ran The Spudnut Shop until he retired in 1985, when his son, Kevin, and his daughter, Val, took over day-to-day management of the store.
Val became the sole manager in 1990, and in 1999, she purchased the business and the building. Val recently celebrated the 60th anniversary of The Spudnut Shop. For more information, see the Press page.
That same Spudnut is still made today, with all of the quality ingredients of the original recipe. For more than 60 years, Spudnuts have been recognized as a premium doughnut. Our product is known as the finest in the industry, and its unique characteristics make us stand apart. You might say we're filling a hole in the doughnut market.