Bill’s Donut Shop in Centerville to be remodeled this summer

‘My goal is that Bill’s Donuts is around for another 45 years,’ owner says.

Credit: ty-greenlees

Credit: ty-greenlees

Since purchasing Bill’s Donut Shop in September, Marshall Lachman and his wife Amy are making sure customers continue to get the fresh doughnuts they have grown to love over the past several decades.

The couple, who had lived and raised three children in Centerville for more than 20 years, were looking to buy something and saw a for-sale posting that didn’t name the doughnut shop, but it was pretty clear it was Bill’s.

Credit: Natalie Jones

Credit: Natalie Jones

“As I said at the time, when you have the chance to buy Bill’s Donuts and you are in the market to buy something, you buy it,” Lachman said.

Bill’s Donut Shop has been a fixture in Lachman’s life, just like it has for so many people in the Miami Valley. Lachman recalled experiencing Bill’s with his children — often once a week.

“They were always excited,” Lachman said. “They didn’t have to take the bus that day. That was the day Dad drove them to school.”

Becoming owner of Bill’s Donut Shop

Lachman described becoming the owner of Bill’s as “a 100-ton freight train moving down the tracks at 50 miles an hour. It wasn’t stopping for me. I had to jump on.”

He said his biggest fear was losing staff members, but they have been great. When he took over, they had about 25 employees who had been there one year or more and only two of them have since left.

“I have 50 people who bust their butts day in and day out,” Lachman said.

Lachman has taken on a behind-the-scenes role of making making sure product is coming in and his employees are getting paid. He left the actual making of doughnuts to his employees.

“It’s a skill and it’s something I need to learn more of, but I rely on the people I have,” Lachman said.

Bill’s Donut Shop has not changed any of its recipes or supplies, Lachman confirmed. When he became owner, he spent a lot of time watching and learning.

“I knew I needed to learn,” Lachman said. “The last thing I was going to do was come in and start telling them how to do things, so I spent really the first month just watching and learning. I’m still, to some extent, watching and learning.”

Credit: Ty Greenlees/Staff

Credit: Ty Greenlees/Staff

What has changed?

Bill’s is known for its made-from-scratch, fresh, high-quality doughnuts that come in a large variety of types and flavors. Lachman said he’s willing to do whatever it takes to support that.

“One of the things that I wanted to make sure is ... that everyone gets a fresh doughnut,” Lachman said.

He has implemented using different colored trays to represent when doughnuts are made. For example, a yellow tray means the doughnuts were made during the first shift.

What’s next?

Moving forward, the doughnut shop has plans to implement a few upgrades this summer.

“Bill’s Donuts has been around in its current location for 45 years,” Lachman said. “My goal is that Bill’s Donuts is around for another 45 years. To do that, some enhancements need to be made.”

They are planning to transform the side room of the doughnut shop into an area specifically for online orders and online delivery services. This will allow customers to choose, order and pay for their doughnuts online — which means they won’t have to wait in a line. Lachman said they will lose some seating, but plan to maintain seating for 30 people.

Other upgrades include new cases, cabinets, counters, point-of-sale system, flooring and booths. Bill’s Donut Shop will keep its iconic paneling as well as embracing a 1960s diner feel.

The doughnut shop is expected to close for one week around the Fourth of July to complete these upgrades, Lachman said.

Employees are the heart of Bill’s

Even though it’s been six months since Lachman took over ownership, he said it still feels “surreal.”

“I went to Bill’s hundreds of times before I became its owner and never thought about what it took to make all of those doughnuts,” Lachman said.

On any given day, Bill’s sells between 5,000 to 8,000 doughnuts. Some days it is even higher.

“I don’t think people appreciate the hard work that goes into it,” Lachman said.

His employees are constantly looking at new and different things they can do. They recently started selling a croissant doughnut, for instance, topped with either powder sugar or cinnamon sugar.

“They’re artists in their own way. They take pride in what different things we can do,” Lachman said. “It’s only possible because of the hardworking people that are there.”

Bill’s Donut Shop is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at 268 N. Main St. in Centerville.

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