Zombies crave Camp Fire Candy

By Aaron Bocook, News Writer

Bloody handprints on the ceiling, life-like zombies clawing at the air and a mutant donut creature missing its brains is not the average backdrop for a kids’ candy sale.

But this is exactly what Dawn of the Donut’s customers saw when the Spokane donut makers teamed up with Camp Fire Inland Northwest to help the kids sell their iconic candy.

Maggie Crabtree, marketing manager and public relations for Camp Fire Inland Northwest, said Camp Fire’s candy coordinator lives near Dawn of the Donuts. When it was suggested that the novelty of the shop would be fun for the kids, Crabtree agreed.

“We’re always looking for interesting places for the kids to sell their candy,” Crabtree said.

Dawn of the Donuts was invited to participate in a chef’s confectionary challenge hosted by Camp Fire and Spokane Kiwanis Charities at the Spokane Civic Theater in early February.

“Camp Fire approached us,” said Nikki Roberts, assistant manager of Dawn of the Donuts. “We thought it was a great idea.”

In addition to Dawn of the Donut several local restaurants, including Madeline’s Café and Patisserie, and Laguna café, were invited to attend. Each chef had to come up with dessert ideas using candy provided by Camp Fire. The contest was a fun way to use up the factory seconds which could not be sold otherwise.

There were over 300 in attendance, and they loved Dawn of the Donut’s creations.

“The icing, on the donut in this case, is that they were picked as the best dessert made with the candy,” Crabtree said.

Dawn of the Donut made 10 different dessert combinations using the Camp Fire candy. But the winner, for both the people’s choice and the judge’s choice, was their old fashioned cake donut with peppermint patty icing and topped with almond roca

After the contest, the relationship between Dawn of the Donut and Camp Fire became a little sweeter.

“We are selling candy here for them in the store,” Roberts said. “We also let them put their tables up and do their selling as well. They get a portion [of the money] of the actual Camp Fire donuts they sell.

“They came in and did a little photo shoot. They had Doctor Dough [one of the resident zombies] here hold some candy, and they dressed the girls up in some Zombie makeup.”

Crabtree said the kids of Camp Fire raise money all over the area, but Dawn of the Donut sticks out as one of the most unique places the kids have sold their candy. The money goes to pay their way to camp, for club activities and for the benefit of the organization.

In addition to her work with Camp Fire, Crabtree is also a public relations professor at EWU. She said that Dawn of the Donut distinguishes itself as a local business.

Just after opening in August 2013, there was a concern from some customers about a donut called the “Fudge Packer.” Instead of fighting the issue, Dawn of the Donut apologized and changed the name of the donut.

“It was kind of ‘Pick your battles,’” said Roberts, “It wasn’t something we thought we really had to stand our ground on if it was going to bother people. We still carry said donut, but is has a different name now, the ‘Coco-apocalypse.’”

Roberts said, in light of the current boycott of the Downtown Spokane Daiquiri Factory, due to their infamous drink name “Date Grape Kool-Aid,” she is happy with Dawn of the Donut’s decision to change the name of their donut.

“I see it affecting their business, and the businesses around them, with people down there protesting and everything,” Roberts said. “I kind of think it’s not really a winning battle for them.”

“Dawn of the Donut’s intention is to be a good community partner,” said Crabtree. “They not only have they supported us, but they have supported [Gonzaga]. They had an Eastern donut during the football playoffs.” Crabtree said Dawn of the Donut is very conscientious about doing what is right and that changing their racy donut name was a good idea.

Shortly after Dawn of the Donut hosted the Camp Fire candy sale, Roberts said they were contacted by the Girl Scouts. She was worried about what Camp Fire would think if Dawn of the Donut hosted the Girl Scouts as well.

“We don’t care,” Crabtree said. “We support kids.”

According to Crabtree, Dawn of the Donut is actually teaching the kids a valuable lesson: If you are doing something you love, no matter what it is, you can turn it into your life’s work.

“Everyone has a different spark,” said Crabtree. “It doesn’t matter what it is, if you have it, you should go for it. What they have to offer is donuts.”