GREENVILLE – In some ways, even JP and Ryland Rainsford can’t believe it, but less than a year after leaving established careers to start a specialty wholesale donut concept, the owners of Scout’s Donuts are opening their own storefront.
The Boy Scouts are moving into the space formerly occupied by Pizza Purists at 1700 East North Street in the Overbrook community, just east of downtown Greenville.
The couple created Scout’s from the ground up after more than two years of research and trial-and-error cooking. The move now allows them to grow from wholesale to separate retail to sell their unique donut brand on-site.
“We knew we wanted to be brick and mortar for the long term to make our business model sustainable,” said Ryland Rainsford. “The only thing we’re waiting for is whether or not we’ve proven the opportunity in the market, and we’re confident that we’re not going to jump into the abyss.”
“It was always in the plan,” he said, “and it was obvious: What are we waiting for?”
The opportunity to own their own brick-and-mortar store somehow takes an unexpected turn after the Rainsfords decide they want something else in life.
Like Scout’s 144-story gourmet confection, the Rainsfords’ reasons for continuing their venture are multi-layered and dynamic.
The couple began their journey with a simple feeling: they wanted to feel more connected. This applies to their family and community.
At the time, the Rainsfords were running a very successful wedding photography business, proving themselves to be adept business owners.
But after seven years, things began to feel different, namely the ability to connect with the people they photographed. They shared deeply emotional experiences, and then that was it.
In addition, the couple began to have children (now they have three children from three months to 5 years old), night work and weekends were not conducive to spending family time.
Ryland also worked as an engineer at Michelin, a job he enjoyed but knew it would never be his last stop.
And so the Reasonfords began to think. They defined several parameters of what they were looking for.
Something that doesn’t require them to work nights and weekends.
Something the whole family can do and grow with.
Something that allows them to develop meaningful relationships.
Something to be a part of and contribute to their community.
Ideas came and went, but nothing stuck.
Nothing happened until Ryland got the donut idea.
He ran with his regular friends, and several runners lamented the lack of good donuts in Greenville, without which they could not continue their post-run ritual. home and enjoy.
After Ryland heard that wail for about the 12th time, he couldn’t stop thinking about the dough. With this presumptive thought, he told his wife J.P. The next morning, JP researched donuts and brainstormed ideas on who to contact for advice.
“The idea of Donu seemed to check a lot of those boxes,” he said.
But they knew they didn’t want to make a typical donut. So they landed on their 144-story variety. It’s in the same vein as the croissant (a hybrid of croissant and donut created by French pastry chef Dominique Ansel in 2013), but the Rainsfords chose not to use the word.
“The only donut that stands out in our minds, the only one we remember, was at a wedding where the couple fed them,” Ryland said of their first layered donut experience. “I looked like dough, but I bit into it and I was blown away.”
Scout’s is known for its combination of light and airy pastries with unique flavors (they developed 39 this year). Some, like maple bacon, peaches and cream, and apple cider and turtle, they knew would work at first, but others were surprise wins, like horchata, fig and goat cheese, and Mexican hot chocolate.
While the business has grown through wholesale sales at local coffee shops and pop-ups at various local businesses, the new bakery space will allow Scout to grow.
While the donuts they make are all about serving something delicious, they also provide connection. So the new space allows the Rainsfords and Scouts to do just that.
“It’s not just food that people can connect with, but we wanted a space where people can connect,” Ryland said.
Scout’s Donuts is set to open this spring at 1700 North St. For more information, visit https://www.scoutsdoughnuts.com or follow @ScoutsDoughnuts on social media.