Shipley Do-Nuts Signs Denver Area Franchise Development Agreement

The Meisternuts restaurant group will take over existing stores with plans to develop 16 more.
The exterior of a Shipley Do-Nuts 24 hour diner.
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With two locations already in Aurora and Fountain, Shipley Do-Nuts is about to make a big move into Colorado. According to an announcement on Monday, February 27, the ubiquitous Southeast United States pastry maker signed a franchise agreement with the Utah-based Meisternuts LLC to acquire the existing locations and add an additional 16 restaurants in the greater Denver area over the coming years.

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Chairman Corby Robertson III leads the Meisternuts group, teaming up with brothers Jeff and Ryan Howes along with operations teammates Mike Cummings and Robert Long. Meisternuts already owns 42 Five Guys locations and 13 Zaxby’s restaurants throughout Idaho, Massachusetts, Texas, Utah and Wyoming, but Shipley is a personal investment for Robertson. As a fourth-generation Houstonian, the chairman is a lifelong fan of the over 60 varieties of Shipley’s classic sweet, hexagonal-shaped pastries and savory, Czech-inspired, sausage-filled kolaches fan his whole life.

“I grew up with Shipley — my parents grew up with Shipley, too — and we’ve always loved the do-nuts,” Robertson said in a press release. “I’ve also been very impressed with the many initiatives and the strong financial results the current leadership has achieved in a relatively short time. This is an excellent opportunity to diversify our restaurant portfolio with an exciting brand that is growing fast.”

First opened in 1935 (before Krispy Kreme in 1937 and Dunkin’ Donuts in 1950), founder Lawrence Shipley Sr. began by selling donuts for five cents a pop at a local wholesale market. Fast forward to the 2010s and the then 75-year-old establishment began a period of rapid expansion. This pace quickened throughout the decade, leading to over 100 stores being opened in 2022 alone (per PR Newswire). Under the corporate leadership of CEO Clifton Rutledge, the eatery updated its branding motto to celebrate the feeling conveyed by its sweet treats — “Do-Happy.”

Last summer, Shipley also launched coffee in its stores, offering guests premium Shipley House Blend hot and cold coffee, “ethically-sourced” from Central and South American medium roast coffee beans. Today, the store continues to innovate, testing out new flavored lemonades to possibly add to its menu.

There is not yet a timeline or a location set for a third Colorado Shipley Do-Nuts as Meisternuts goes through the process of taking over management of existing stores. Keep an eye on What Now Denver for news of possible new Shipley Do-Nuts coming soon.

Matthew Denis

Matthew D. Denis is a Bend, Oregon-based freelance reporter with a predilection for existential expression. Be it art, backcountry exploration, overland road rallies, or Zimbabwean beats, Matt is there to describe the culture and expression that defines our humanity. You can find his work in ArtNews, The Register-Guard, The Manual, U.S. News & World Report, and more. When Matt's not typing on keys, he'll likely be exploring books, creative writing, or endless Western wilds.
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