Football standout Jeff Graham branches out to launch Duck Donuts

7:14 a.m. Friday, June 16, 2017 What To Know
Jeff Graham had his best season in the NFL as a member of the Chicago Bears in 1995 when he caught 82 passes for 1,301 yards. FILE/GETTY IMAGES

The new Duck Donuts shop that is gearing up to open on the Brown Street strip near the University of Dayton is under the primary ownership of a local football legend.

Jeff Graham is a former Alter High School, Ohio State University and NFL football standout who is now the head football coach at Trotwood-Madison High School.

After starring on both offense and defense at Alter, Graham was a three-year starter at receiver for the Buckeyes from 1988-90. He made the All-Big Ten first team as a senior, when he was named captain and chosen team MVP. His 1,182 career receiving yards were fourth-most in Ohio State history when his career concluded.

The Pittsburgh Steelers chose Graham in the second round of the 1991 NFL draft. He also played for the Chicago Bears, New York Jets, Philadelphia Eagles and San Diego Chargers, catching 542 passes for 8,172 yards and 30 touchdowns during his overall NFL career.

Graham told this news outlet that he got involved with Duck Donuts through a relationship with UD and its former basketball standout and Trotwood-Madison High School graduate Chris Wright, and with a Charlotte-based attorney, André Walters.

“Duck Donuts is an up-and-coming new franchise that caters to the customer for their own creativity, so they can create a customized doughnut of their liking,” Graham said.

The UD-area Duck Donuts will be the first Dayton-area location, and only the second in Ohio for the Harrisburg, Pa.-based doughnut chain. A location in the Polaris Center in suburban Columbus opened in December. Dayton’s first Duck Donuts is scheduled to open in early August at 1200 Brown Street just north of Stewart Street.

Graham described the Brown Street space as “an ideal location” because of its proximity to UD and Miami Valley Hospital, and because of the heavy foot and vehicle traffic along the street. The 1,240-square-foot Brown Street space previously housed Bad Frog Yogurt, which closed in October 2016. The retail and dining strip also includes restaurants such as Zombie Dogs, Bibibop, Fusian and PotBelly Sandwiches, among others.

The franchise group that Graham leads is already eyeing more locations in the region, according to Todd Roberts, business advisor for the Dayton-area Duck Donuts franchise owners. Plans call for adding two more Duck Donuts locations in the Dayton area over the next 18 months, and franchise owners are close to finalizing a deal for a second location, Roberts said.

Duck Donuts’ concept allows customers to customize their own doughnut, using a vanilla cake doughnut that is made fresh — it is not dropped into the fryer until the order is placed. Customers then choose their icings, sprinkles and other toppings.

That build-your-own, made-to-order concept is similar to that of District 6 Donuts, an independent doughnut shop that opened two weeks ago at 6 Oakwood Ave., just a half-mile up the street from the future Duck Donuts location.

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