Dayton’s Not Dead: local classic Bill’s Donut Shop serves baked goods and coffee 24/7
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Good things should last a lifetime, and in the case of Bill’s Donut Shop, they last three. Bill’s Donuts is a local favorite that has been selling donuts and other sweet treats since 1960.
Currently, Bill’s Donut Shop is co-owned by Lisa Elam-Tucker and Jim Elam whose parents originally opened the shop on East Third St. in Dayton. Then, they moved to two new locations in Centerville, the first in 1967 and their current location at 268 North Main St., where they have been since 1979. Though the business has changed hands, it has always stayed in the family.
“My brother and I bought it in 1995 from my mom and dad,” Elam-Tucker said. “Now, Jim’s son is working here and he will be the third generation. You don’t see many mom and pop stores anymore.”
The business is close to the family, but so is the food. Almost everything is made in-house by hand.
“We cut all of our donuts by hand and shape them by hand. We make all of the icings, cream fillings, and our own glaze,” Elam-Tucker said. “The only things not made by hand are the Bavarian and jelly filings. Everything else is made by scratch. We don’t use any preservatives. Everything is made in-house and intended to eat within the next day or so.”
Their menu boasts a wide variety, both in donuts and other items.
“We’ve got over 60 different types of donuts, we also do brownies, cookies, muffins, Danish and turnovers,” Elam-Tucker said. “We have a baked selection as well as a donut selection. We also do Italian sodas, coffees, and espressos. Everything we do is sugar, caffeine or milk.”
One of the perks of owning a local classic is staying in touch with the customers and staying engaged with the community.
“[The best part is] the people that come in,” Elam-Tucker said. “We’ve watched three or four generations that have come through here. People that are our age that we went to school with have their own kids now. But it really is just all the people. We’ve held wedding receptions, funeral dinners, baby showers, birthday parties, we’ve done just about everything.”
Bill’s Donut Shop is heavily involved with A Special Wish Foundation, which Elam-Tucker’s Father granted the first wish in 1983.
Now, Elam-Tucker serves on the board and hosts special events, like the Superhero Donut Run for A Special Wish Foundation on April 29 at Centerville High School. The event is a 5k and 10k run where participants are dressed in super hero costumes. Donuts and hot dogs are up for grabs. Students interested in registering can go to superherodonutrun.org or call (937) 223-WISH.