Restaurants

Another Texas Food Icon is Sold Off – What Shipley Do-Nuts Joining Whataburger Really Means

When Beloved Brands Change Hands

BY // 01.10.21

Little more than a week in and sadly 2021 is not looking much better than 2020. There are critical problems that should concern us all (the mob rioting at the US Capitol, skyrocketing coronavirus cases) and much less serious annoyances. You can add another Texas food staple being sold to that second list. Shipley Do-Nuts is joining Whataburger in changing hands.

The absolute best place to get warm, fresh donuts (sorry-but-not-that-sorry to Krispy Kreme and Dunkin’ Donuts) is being sold to a private firm.

Whataburger being sold to a Chicago company in 2019 triggered an immediate backlash — and plenty of Twitter angst. Houston Texans superstar J.J. Watt even called for fans to buy Whataburger back. Some even feared that Whataburger’s beloved Honey Butter Chicken Biscuits were going to be no more almost inciting a “come and take it attitude” over burgers and Spicy Ketchup.

Now, Shipley’s sale brings some unease. As silly as it may be. Sometimes, it’s fun to worry about things that are not so important.

Of course, Shipley’s has plenty of serious devotees.  Including famous Houston icons such as Lizzo and Travis Scott, who introduced Kylie Jenner to the donut institution.

Lizzo viral video shipleys donuts
Lizzo posted a video of herself dancing in front of a local Shipley’s shop that went viral.

Thankfully, Shipley’s new ownership, Peak Rock Capital is an Austin-based private equity firm. There will be no moving the headquarters states away.

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Shipley’s will be joining companies such as Halo Foods, Turkey Hill and Louisiana Fish Fry in Peak Rock’s food and beverage holdings.

Shipley Do-Nuts came to life more than 80 years ago. In 1936, Lawrence Shipley, Sr. created the recipe for its iconic airy and light donuts and the rest is comfort food history. Up until now, the donut institution has been a family affair, passed from Lawrence Shipley Sr. to his son and helmed most recently by his grandson, Lawrence Shipley III.

What does this ownership change mean for customers? Likely not much. After the Whataburger sale angst died down, nothing really changed. Whataburger is still Whataburger. Still the same iconic orange and white stiped triangle building, road trip must-stop, Spicy Ketchup land.

While Shipley Do-Nuts will no longer be owned by a Shipley, it should still pretty much stay the same. A glazed donut will still be a warm soft glazed donut.

“Shipley represents an exciting opportunity to invest in a beloved consumer brand with an established reputation for authenticity and quality,” Peak Rock Capital managing director Robert Strauss says in a statement. “We are incredibly impressed with the franchise that the Shipley family has built, and we look forward to partnering with the company’s management team to invest behind their growth plan.

“Shipley is deeply committed to continue providing existing franchisee partners with opportunities to grow their business and will actively seek relationships with new partners who are interested in being a part of our growing concept.”

Yes, it sounds like Shipley Do-Nuts could grow to more locations under Peak Rock. Shipley’s is in nine states right now. Maybe  it’s Dunkin’ Donuts and not Shipley’s fans who should be worried.

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