Honors College Alumnus, Entrepreneur Opens Retro Donut Shops

There’s something innately fun about it. I’ve never seen someone get a donut and not be happy.

Andrew Gauthier, '11 Honors College Alumnus
Time to make the donuts

By Stephanie Cepak

“The Honeymoon,” “Red Velvet Underground” and “The Rush” are just some of the funky-named donuts resting in metal baskets at Andrew Gauthier’s shops in Williamston and East Lansing.

Gauthier, a 2011 alumnus of the Honors College with a degree in finance from the Eli Broad College of Business, gets up around midnight and heads to Groovy Donuts each day to, well, make the donuts.

Becoming an entrepreneur was something Gauthier always had in the back of his mind, but during his time at Michigan State University, he was more focused on starting a career on Wall Street.

Gauthier was part of the Honors College’s Academic Scholars Program as a freshman, living on a floor in Holden Hall with other scholars who eventually turned into being some of his closest friends. After transitioning into the Honors College, Gauthier said he enjoyed the opportunity to gain access to classes he wouldn’t have otherwise been able to take and the flexibility to enroll in classes that interested him.

“I don’t mind doing the extra work if it’s more interesting, so I appreciated that,” he said. “It made my education more valuable to me.”

Being a part of the Honors College helped Gauthier gain entrance into the Financial Markets Institute at MSU, which then led to an internship with Wells Fargo Securities in New York City. Gauthier moved to the Big Apple shortly after graduation.

“That gave me a different mindset about entrepreneurship and how to value a business,” he said.

But after two years, Gauthier, who grew up in Florida, was missing the mid-Michigan area.

“There’s something about this area in particular that has a magnetic effect,” he said.

After he got a job in financial services, Gauthier was sitting with a friend at The Peanut Barrel one day and the friend asked him to go out for coffee and donuts afterward.

“There were no local places in town at the time that really offered that,” he said. “It just got the wheels turning. I love donuts anyway. I thought there were worse ways to try and making a living.”

This was early February of 2015 and by September of that year, Gauthier and his partner and fellow MSU graduate, Monica Lucas, would open their first donut shop in Williamston.

“Almost every waking hour, besides eating, was dedicated to the business,” he said. “You have to invest a lot of your life.”

Gauthier traveled the state to pick the brains of other donut shop owners, practice recipes, create a menu, organize a business plan, pursue financing and find a location.

Understanding “the grind” of an entrepreneur is key in trying to become one, Gauthier said.

“You see the finished product a lot more often than you see the grind,” he said. “You want to understand the ultimate goal of it and how to achieve it.”

Gauthier said he got the idea for Groovy Donuts because of his initial thought that donuts, and donut shops, are a bit of a “retro thing” that are now making a comeback.

“I happened to really like 60-70s era music, culture and film,” he said. “It connected well with my perception it was a throw-back concept.”

Gauthier added, “There’s something innately fun about it. I’ve never seen someone get a donut and not be happy.”