The Donut Hole closes after 30 years in LaPlace

Published 6:04 pm Wednesday, September 15, 2021

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LAPLACE — After serving the River Parishes community for 30 years, The Donut Hole is closing its doors.

The closure was announced Wednesday, more than two weeks after Hurricane Ida ravaged the building at 421 W. Airline Highway in LaPlace. Rain poured inside after the roof was torn off by relentless winds, causing the second floor of the structure to collapse into the lobby.

Important equipment was damaged during the storm, which contributed to the decision to close the multi-generational family business.

Jim Planetta started the business in 1991. He had previously worked with a donut franchise in Baton Rouge. When that venture did not work out, he decided to start his own business in LaPlace.

After starting out on Belle Terre, The Donut Hole moved to Highway 51 and finally to Airline Highway. It became a fixture within the community, loved for its classic hot glazed donuts, kolaches, breakfast offerings and mouthwatering Mardi Gras king cakes.

Jim’s daughter, Kristie Planetta, has been part of the family business since she was 13 years old. The Donut Hole has been a backdrop to every milestone. Her daughter, Madison Jackson, used to sit in a highchair inside the shop while her family tossed donut holes to her. Madison is now all grown up and has been by her mother’s side at the helm of the business for the past two years.

The Donut Hole’s multi-generational impact has been felt throughout the community. Countless customers have told Kristie that they grew up with The Donut Hole, and they had the pleasure of sharing that love with their own children.

Closing was not an easy decision, but the family has no choice but to take things day-by-day and see what the future holds.

“The outpouring of love, text messages, Facebook messages and calls is truly heartfelt. It makes you realize how important we are to the community,” Kristie said. “It’s heartbreaking because I keep telling my daughter that I feel like I’ve lost part of myself. This is all I’ve ever known.”

Several community members have asked if The Donut Hole can move to another location, but Kristie said transferring equipment isn’t as simple as plugging a cord into a socket.

“We have to have certain amperage and voltage. Mixers weigh a ton. Some would need a forklift to move. It’s just not a simple fix,” Kristie said. “We’re just going to see what the future holds. I know the community is as heartbroken as we are.”

Madison said it would be hard to see the business move anywhere else. It has been a pleasure for her to work alongside her mother to help the business grow bigger and better every day. She also loved seeing the regulars each day, getting to know them on a first-name basis, and memorizing their orders by heart.

“It’s been a hard year, facing battle after battle with COVID and then this hurricane,” Madison said. “We want to thank the community for rallying behind us, and we don’t want them to think that we gave up on them. We never wanted this to happen. We’re strong. We’re resilient. This wasn’t the way we wanted to go out.”

Kristie said she will miss the morning coffee crew and how the men would always cut up at the corner table. She’ll also miss the back-to-school blowout each year and other special moments spent with the community.

Some have asked her whether she will sell the family recipe, but that’s not a secret she’s ready to divulge.

“It’s been in the family for a long time, so that’s not really our intention right now. Who knows what the future holds – there may be a Donut Hole 2.0. Right now, we’re just taking it day by day,” she said.