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News / Business / Clark County Business

Voodoo Doughnut opens its newest shop in Vancouver

Site near Vancouver Mall draws crowds for grand opening festivities

By Rachel Pinsky, for The Columbian
Published: January 11, 2022, 11:26am

Make it a dozen. Voodoo Doughnut opened its doors in Vancouver on Tuesday, celebrating its 12th location just across the river from where the iconic pop-culture-loving doughnut shop got its start.

A crowd of about 30 people braved drizzly weather Tuesday morning at the store, 8203 N.E. Vancouver Mall Drive, before Vancouver Mayor Anne McEnerny-Ogle and store manager Bill Dougherty used oversized pink-handled scissors to cut a giant pink ribbon.

After the ribbon was cut, confetti filled the air along with the sound of noise makers as the doors to the pink-encased building flung open.

Eric Coolbaugh, Voodoo’s vice president of marketing, noted that the date 1/11 was picked because it’s “super eleventy and we really liked the numbers.”

9 Photos
Employees help customers at check-out during the grand opening of the new Voodoo Doughnut at Vancouver Mall on Tuesday morning, Jan.11, 2022.
Voodoo Doughnut opens in Vancouver Photo Gallery

The doughnut company with a cultlike following has 11 other locations nationwide, including Denver, Houston, Austin, and Orlando. Vancouver may seem an unconventional choice in this expansion to big cities but for CEO Chris Schultz, Vancouver felt like a natural choice.

“When I came to Voodoo four years ago, Vancouver was on the radar. I was at Mod (Pizza) which opened and did well here,” Schultz said. “Vancouver is a great city, and it’s growing.”

Schultz felt that the spot near Vancouver Mall was desirable because a Five Guys and Chick-fil-A recently opened nearby. The area also has other new brands like Dutch Bros.

Sam Matthews, the first in line, had been waiting since 7:30 a.m., but the 90-minute wait didn’t faze him. “That’s what I do at all things new in Vancouver,” said Matthews. He said he loves doughnuts and was excited for the opening of this new shop, though he confessed that he also likes Donut Nook.

Behind Matthews, the mother-and-daughter team of Olivia and Stacey Waters had been waiting since 8 a.m. Almost 20 years before they waited in line for the grand opening of Voodoo’s Old Town location when Olivia was a child.

“We thought we’d keep up the tradition,” said Olivia Matthews. She was seeking a Voodoo Doll — a raised yeast doughnut filled with raspberry jelly topped with chocolate frosting fashioned into a Voodoo doll shape complete with a small pretzel rod through the heart. Her mother’s favorite is the Old Dirty Bastard — a raised ring with chocolate frosting, chocolate cream-filled cookies, and peanut butter drizzle.

Every Voodoo Doughnut serves the same menu of doughnuts packed in signature pink boxes. Their most iconic item is the bacon maple bar. Schultz says Voodoo founder Kenneth “Cat Daddy” Pogson invented the sweet and salty concoction 16 years ago when he brought bacon for his breakfast and placed it on a maple bar. At Voodoo, bacon is made several times a day in a dedicated space to top their bacon maple bars. Doughnuts are also made several times a day to ensure freshness.

The Vancouver shop, like every other Voodoo location, varies a bit to soak up the local culture and the unique personalities of the staff.

“It’s not Voodoo Portland, it’s Voodoo Vancouver. We didn’t want to build a Portland store in Vancouver. We want Vancouver to be Vancouver,” Schultz said.

To create this unique vibe, workers at each shop sign up for one-hour shifts to choose the music. Just before opening, Guns N Roses’ “Paradise City” poured out of the speakers. In addition, each Voodoo Doughnut spot has a unique velvet portrait of the shop’s Spirit Channeler painted by Juanita’s Velvets in Portland.

A Denver store has a Pam Grier portrait, film director Wes Anderson watches over one of the Houston spots, while another Houston shop offers a velvet painted image of Patrick Swayze from “Roadhouse.”

Swayze’s co-star from that film and a 1965 Clark College graduate, Sam Elliot, watches over the Vancouver store. Elliot’s image derives from an unconventional film choice — the overlooked 1970s beach movie “Lifeguard.” Elliot, like Voodoo’s other Spirit Channelers, will preside over weddings and generally watch over the store.

The Vancouver shop comes with a unique feature not found at many other locations — a big window where guests can observe doughnut artists garnishing the glazed fried dough cakes. Patrons can watch as bits of Cap’n Crunch, Oreo, or hunks of Double Bubble are carefully added to colorful fried orbs of dough.

Voodoo Doughnut won’t open any other Vancouver locations.

“That’s the one Voodoo in Vancouver. If you live in Vancouver you come to this location. We don’t plan on being on every corner. It’s no longer cool if it’s everywhere,” said Schultz.

According to Coolbaugh, the Vancouver space didn’t face any delays related to COVID-19. However, the shop does take pandemic-related precautions. To protect customers and staff, Voodoo Doughnut conducts wellness checks with each of their employees at the beginning of each shift.

McEnerny-Ogle said she has been impressed with Voodoo’s commitment to giving back by supporting nonprofit organizations. Currently, a portion of sales of their Mango Ginger Kiss doughnut go to the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America.

Since opening in 2003, Voodoo has donated proceeds from sales of specialty doughnuts to national and local nonprofit organizations. Past charities include the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, National Alliance for Mental Illness, and Big Brothers Big Sisters. “It’s one thing for a business to come into a city, but giving back is important,” said McEnerny-Ogle.

The location will stay open until 11 p.m. or midnight every night. Credit cards and cash are accepted.