Icon Donuts & Sweetery opens on Hill

LEZIGA BARIKOR, Staff Writer

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Some students might be tempted to put their New Years’ health and fitness resolutions on hold -— or at least plan a cheat day — to try out the new sweet spot on the Hill.

On Friday, Jan. 11, Icon Donuts & Sweetery opened in the College Hill area next to Greenhouse Kitchen. The company was created by six owner-operators including Kyle Dehmlow, who is also an owner-operator of other College Hill businesses, including Greenhouse Kitchen. The Cedar Falls location of Icon is the second to open, the first being on Ridgeway Ave in Waterloo.

“Our original idea was just to do the one on College Hill and we were going to build a production kitchen to work from,” Dehmlow said. “But the land didn’t work out so we had to find another location.”

According to Dehmlow, the Hill did not offer enough space to have a fully functioning kitchen along with a donut storefront. He and his business partners decided to explore Waterloo, where they found the perfect location to house both.

“We worked on that one first to get that up and running because we couldn’t have opened this one without the kitchen,” Dehmlow said.

Both locations offer an ever-changing array of different types of donuts, as well as other pastry items. They also offer a variety of drinks and cold brew coffee, and work is being done to potentially have milkshakes made with donuts in the future. Dehmlow said they are constantly changing the flavors to see what they think will become crowd favorites.

The main feature of the new donut shop is their Icon Donuts, which take their inspiration from famous figures.

“What makes it an Icon Donut is, we looked at memorable people, whether they are iconic times in history, iconic people, characters, songs, artists, somebody that we think has stood the test of time,” Dehmlow said.

These donuts will be a constant feature at both locations, whereas other flavors may filter in-and-out of season.

“We want to give them a name so that when you refer to that name, you know that donut is coming from our place,” Dehmlow said. “You can get a Long John from anywhere; you can get a chocolate cake donut anywhere. Can you get a ‘Raspberry Beret’ anywhere? No, you cannot.”

The ‘Raspberry Beret’ is Dehmlow’s favorite of the Icons, named after the Prince song of the same name.

There are about 40 more Icons that have not been released yet but are currently being worked on, according to Dehmlow. They are slowly rolling out their different menu options, and there is constant development as they work on different variations of classic donuts and premium flavors.

“When we think that they’re [a] very, very unique flavor […] when we come up with something that is definitely going to stand out more than anything else, we save it for our Icon category,” Dehmlow said. “And we’ve already come up with a lot of them as far as the names and flavor profile that we want. And then we keep working at it, until we are happy with the look and the taste.”

All the donuts and other pastry items are made from scratch in the Icon kitchen. They are currently working on donuts that accommodate those with gluten allergies and are planning on using the kitchen in Greenhouse Kitchen as an allergy-safe place of production. Students can also find donuts that fit a variety of dietary needs, such as veganism.

Other services Icon provides includes large donut cakes, catering and special-order donuts. The Waterloo location was open during the holiday season to provide holiday special order services. There will be an online ordering system coming in the future. In the meantime, customers can come in and make special orders at any location.

“It’s been very well-received,” Dehmlow said. “We didn’t have to do too much promotion right away… We didn’t want to get too ahead of ourselves. We kind of wanted to ease into it with school coming back.”

One logistic hurdle Dehmlow said they wanted to make sure they got right was transporting donuts from the Waterloo store to the Cedar Falls one. Another is keeping their hours somewhat limited since Icon is such a new business. Their current hours are 6 a.m. to 7 p.m., but they hope to extend their hours when it gets warmer and they have a larger staff. They are currently hiring for all positions at both locations.

“We’re excited to finally be open,” Dehmlow said, encouraging students to come in and explore what they have to offer.

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