Sazro Mahambrey came up with the idea of publishing a book about how Bill’s Donut Shop’s customers’ lives were so deeply intertwined with the iconic Centerville doughnut shop. And Bill’s customers helped make it happen by providing their stories by the, well, dozen.
“Bill’s Donut Shop: The ‘Hole’ Story” is now available in the doughnut destination at 268 N. Main St. (Ohio 48), and it is already headed toward a second printing run as the first 300 copies approach a sellout. The slick magazine-style publication costs $15.
The 32-page booklet is jam-packed with testimonials and touching stories about Bill’s and how it has impacted customers’ lives. And that’s exactly what Mahambrey had in mind when he came up with the idea for “The ‘Hole’ Story.”
“The idea for the book came to me while I was enjoying a doughnut with a couple of my friends in the store, and it took off from there,” Mahambrey said.
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The stories range from the husband who 40 years ago stopped at Bill’s to grab a dozen while on the way to the hospital as his pregnant wife, who was in labor in the back seat, and who was “screaming at the top of her lungs, ‘We’re about to have a baby and you want Bill’s???’” — to the couple who shared their first Bill’s doughnut as teen-agers on a memorable night when the then-15-year-old girl was caught by her parents violating her curfew. They shared Bill’s doughnuts again years later — on their wedding day.
Now operated by co-owners Jim Elam and Lisa Elam Tucker, Bill’s Donut Shop moved from its original downtown Dayton location to Centerville in 1967. In the 1970s, there were several Bill’s locations in the Dayton area, including Vandalia, Kettering and Huber Heights. The shop moved to its current location on North Main Street in 1979.
Bill’s Donut Shop has become a fixture in the Centerville community and a favorite among doughnut enthusiasts from all over the region. The shop has garnered plenty of national accolades and shout-outs, including from People Magazine, which included Bill’s Donutsamong the 12 doughnut shops in America that collectively represent one of the “100 reasons to Love America.”
Local doughnut shop among top 50 in the U.S., magazine says (February 2013)
People also has ranked Bill’s #2 in the nation, behind only to Dough in New York City. And Bill’s also made the list of “The 15 Best Donut Shops in America” as compiled by BusinessInsider.com.
Bill’s was also the only doughnut shop in Ohio to be included in Saveur magazine’s March 2013 story entitled “The World’s Best Donuts: The 50 Finest Donut Shops in America.” A month later, USA Today named Bill’s one of the “10 Great Places to Get Doughnuts” in the U.S.
And in June 2015, a food blog on HuffingtonPost.com identified the devil’s food doughnut at Bill’s as one of the “Dozen Best Donuts in America,” proclaiming that it “begged to be dunked in chocolate.”
We tried $150 worth of Schuler’s Donuts (April 2016)