STRATHAM – Residents and commuters using Route 33 are losing their local donut shop with the closure of the Angry Donut.
Co-owners Tom Quill and Jill Passen posted on Facebook on July 20 that Sunday was their last day open at Stratham. They said their three-year lease at the 157 Portsmouth Avenue location had expired and they were unable to reach an agreement with their landlord.
Quill announced the opening of a new Angry Donut location next week at 42 Inn Street in downtown Newburyport, Massachusetts.
He said the combination of the opening of a new location, the downturn in business due to the pandemic and the end of his lease in Stratham forced his hand to close his business in town.
Quill said during the COVID-19 pandemic, Angry Donut’s first Newburyport location at 38 Washington St. kept the operation afloat while business slowed in Stratham.
He said he was faced with the decision of whether to renew his lease and invest in new equipment for the Newburyport store or close Stratham and move the equipment to the new store.
He said the prudent business decision was to close in Stratham.
“It was just a matter of timing with the new store opening,” Quill said Wednesday. “In the current climate, everyone is struggling to find workers and I was hoping someone would manage the Stratham site as I prepared to open the new store in Newburyport. I get up at 2am everyday to make donuts so I know it’s not for everyone so I couldn’t afford the cost of buying new equipment with the status of our lease in the air.
Passen said it was difficult to say goodbye to many regular customers who frequented the store on their way to work in the morning,
“We are so sorry to disappoint our customers, we want them to know that we didn’t want to have to make this decision,” Passen said. ‘We recognize that people in Exeter and Stratham won’t want to drive the extra 20-25 minutes to buy donuts, but we still hope they will make the occasional trip.’
Quill said he enjoys getting to know his regulars and that made it a tough call when it came time to shut down.
“It’s definitely bittersweet, and me being the person our clients saw every day, these people let you into their lives and you learn all about them,” Quill said. “That’s why it was so hard, I knew what the right business choice was, but my personal feelings for everyone I met kept me from making it.”
Quill said he was excited about the foot traffic that will be able to visit his new store in downtown Newburyport, and hopes some of his loyal customers from Stratham, Exeter and beyond will make the occasional trip to pick up a box of his homemade donuts. He said once the new store is up and running he is not ruling out further expansion to reopen another store in the area down the road.
“I was really hoping to stay in the area because I love the people,” Quill said. “That’s why it’s been so difficult to close the Stratham store, it was the right business decision at the moment, but I would absolutely love to be back up there.”