Home Food & Drink Axe-throwing entrepreneurs carve out new donut business in Darlington

Axe-throwing entrepreneurs carve out new donut business in Darlington

Jack Beadle with the new donuts

The brains behind urban axe-throwing business Hatchet Harry’s are launching a new chain of donut stores – the first of which will be giving away free donuts this weekend.

Harry’s Hand Crafted Donuts is opening its first store in High Row, Darlington, this week.

To celebrate the launch, the store will be giving away one free donut per customer on Saturday, January 15, until the day’s stock runs out.

Business owners Jack Beadle and Richard Bridge came up with the idea during lockdown last year, when they were forced to temporarily close their Hatchet Harry’s axe-throwing venues due to Covid restrictions.

Jack began by perfecting a donut recipe in his own kitchen and selling them with the help of social media via online deliveries.

And the recipes proved such a success that the pair have now set up a commercial kitchen in the north-east to supply the Darlington store initially, and then two further donut stores – in Newcastle and Middlesbrough – which are expected to open in the first quarter of 2022.

Depending on the success of the venture, Jack and Richard plan to open other Harry’s Handcrafted Donut stores across the UK, some of which will share locations with the expanding Hatchet Harry’s empire.

Jack said: “When Covid restrictions forced me to shut Hatchet Harry’s I was pretty bored and was looking for something to do. I was aware of the growing popularity of donuts, so decided to set up my own home-made donut delivery business.

“I quickly discovered there was a real appetite for donuts – so we’ve gone from making them in my kitchen to proper commercial production within just a few months.”

Harry’s Hand Crafted Donuts will also serve coffee made with beans sourced from leading brand 200 Degrees Coffee, and donuts will also be available for online ordering and delivery via Uber Eats.

Jack said that sharing venues with some of the existing Hatchet Harry’s venues would ensure the units were utilised throughout the day, as axe-throwing activities tended to be concentrated in the late afternoon and evenings.

“The businesses should complement each other very well,” he said. “After all, who doesn’t want to drink coffee, eat donuts and throw axes at the same time?”

The new donut venture prides itself on providing product with more of a home-made quality and taste than those of many competing brands. Its top-selling product is a lemon meringue flavoured donut.

So, what is the secret behind creating the perfect donut?

“It’s all about temperature, timing – and of course making flavours and toppings that we know people will enjoy,” said Jack.

Hatchet Harry’s, which launched in May 2019, currently operates at centres in Glasgow, Newcastle, Liverpool, Aberdeen and Nottingham, with plans for more venues in the coming year, including in Brentwood, Reading and Brighton.

The axe-throwing concept, which operates under a strict no-alcohol basis, was traditionally a popular Canadian pastime handed down by the country’s lumberjacks