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EMPIRE — By Wednesday afternoon, Empire Donuts was almost sold out of the deep fried treat after crowds flocked to its grand opening.

“Everyone loves donuts,” said Cathy Staton, co-owner of the new donut shop on 114 North Wasson St. in Empire.

An employee reaches for old fashioned doughnuts Wednesday during the grand opening of Empire Donuts in the Empire District of Coos Bay.

After it opened its doors at 9 a.m. on September 18, people flooded local Facebook forums with photos of old fashioned donuts on napkins and nothing but praise for the new shop. When Staton heard about the buzz, she laughed and said it made her both excited and nervous.

For her, it was a long road to this point where she was able to come home and join the tight-knit business community of the Historic Empire District.

“Many, many years ago I was searching for a job out in Medford when I had two little kids,” she remembered. “I was placed at a bakery and after my three months was up, I got hired.”

What she didn’t know at the time was that the owner was looking to sell, which he did. The business was purchased by someone who gave it up after 30 days and Staton found herself going through the job hunt again.

“Then I got a call from the gentleman who owned the building asking if I wanted to open the shop back up,” she said. “So I did.”

After rescuing the bakery, she had the chefs teach her how to make some of the goods they were selling. She described them as men who had gone to school to learn how to bake, who were very talented, but said to her that she wouldn’t be good “because I’m a woman and not strong enough.”

“I worked harder after that,” she remembered. “I’m one of those people who if you tell me I can’t, I will show you that I can.”

She eventually made her way back home, having heard of the location being available by friends who also own a business in the area.

Misty Hudson, left, and Ammie Fleming work behind the counter Wednesday during the grand opening of Empire Donuts in Coos Bay.

“We did have to clean it up,” she said. “Before, it was pink. Everything was painted pink.”

Empire Donuts is serving old fashioned donuts, as well as maple bars and biscuits and gravy. Staton and her husband, Charlie, plan on expanding the business to eventually sell sandwiches and pastries.

Until then, Empire Donuts is getting ready to deliver donuts to wholesalers around town.

“I love creating and I love baking,” Staton said. “I’m keeping my fingers crossed and hoping for the best.”

Working the register during the grand opening was Misty Hudson, who said it is exciting for her too.

“I’m excited to be in Empire,” she said. “It’s time we bring the Historic District back. It’s time we take Empire back.”

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Reporter Jillian Ward can be reached at 541-269-1222, ext. 235, or by email at jillian.ward@theworldlink.com. Follow her on Twitter: @JE_Wardwriter.

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