Story by: Theresa Hardman
Coffee and doughnut shop Parlor Doughnuts first began in Evansville, Indiana in 2019 as a WW1 themed location to indulge in their signature delicious, layered donuts. The company made the decision to expand their brand and made their way down to Jacksonville, and with the help of local owner Israel (Izzy) Guibas introduced the 904 to their product and found how to fit parlors into the local community.
With the Jacksonville area not only being the largest U.S city land wise, but it is also a city heavily occupied with pre-existing large chains, so breaking in as an out-of-town small chain is no easy feat in such a busy but established area. The creators and owners of Parlor know that they have a good and interesting product that they wanted to share with Jacksonville residents, and through hard work they have established themself perfectly in the area, to the extent of extending their span in the city. This would take dedication to grow loyalty to the brand from scratch.
Jacksonville currently has 4 Parlor Locations, with a 5th on the way, being the city with the most locations that the company has expanded to thus far. Guibas first got involved with the company after owning his own coffee business in the Evansville area, and when the opportunity to expand Parlor came about, Izzy decided to take charge as the owner of the Jacksonville based locations.
“You have a lot of people with different social and economic backgrounds, so I think it’s a perfect fit for us,” Guibas said. “As we’re expanding into more locations, one of the fun things is people from the North side or West side of Jacksonville, or even St.Augustine where we have a lot of tourists. We feel like we have a product and a brand everybody can be attracted to. We think we have great product in our doughnuts.”
Guibas is aided in his running of the north Florida locations by his wife, two daughters and son, taking great pride in keeping that close-knit, hands-on ownership to keep each location connected with its neighborhood. In breaking a new company into a city, you need to build community, and this ownership style keeps a deep sense of connection and camaraderie in each store.
“The whole premise of Parlor is it’s a gathering place, in the old days its where people came into a home to discuss the news of the day to or socialize with friends and family,” explained Guibas “It’s really easy as you expand to lose touch of that community, but the way I feel we stay true to that is through our ownership has ownership has maintained that contact with each location. We want to make sure we stay in contact with each location, to keep up with the day to day.”
In combining their delicious recipes, dynamic parlor theme, and a hands-on ownership philosophy Guibas and the Parlor brand have solidified themselves a space in the Jacksonville food scene. With a 5th location opening soon in Golf World, and multiple others in surrounding Florida cities, the Parlor brand is able to look upon their 904 locations as a blueprint for local growth and connection.