King Donut-Teriyaki-Laundromat: It’s a Real Place and Business of the Year

King Donut-Teriyaki-Laundromat: It’s a Real Place and Business of the Year

By Amber Campbell

Where can you get a cheap date, sage advice and a big apple fritter for just $1.50?

King Donut in Rainier Beach.

Maybe that’s why the Rainier Chamber of Commerce recently named the donut-teriyaki-laundromat Business of the Year. King Donut was also voted Best Thing in Southeast Seattle in the 2013 RVP Readers Choice Awards.

“King Donut adds a richness to our community, and their story is one not just of South Seattle, but of America,” said E.J. Gong, President of the Rainier Chamber of Commerce. “They left worn-torn Cambodia in search of a better life for themselves and their children. And they’ve created an iconic business which serves the entire community.”

The Rainier Chamber of Commerce will present this and several other community awards in its annual President’s Luncheon at New Holly Gathering Hall (7054 32nd Ave. S.) on Thurs., June 5. Mayor Ed Murray will be the keynote speaker.

Co-owner Davie Hay will accept the award on behalf of her family, who’s owned the shop on Rainier Ave. S. at 51st Ave. S. for nearly 30 years.

She said the recognition means a lot to her family, especially her parents — Heng Hey and Chea Pol (below) — who started the business in 1987 after fleeing war-torn Cambodia.

HengHay

Heng Hay and Chea Pol met in Cambodia. During the war, they were forced to walk 15 hours to the refugee camp in Thailand. This picture was taken right before they came to Seattle in 1980. Photo/Hay family

“It displays the years and commitment we’ve maintained to the family business in a neighborhood that is like our second home,” she said. “It shows that anyone can receive this award with a little hard work and motivation.”

In between slinging donuts, harassing her customers and detailing hilarious neighborhood antics on Facebook, Hay was kind enough to entertain a few questions from the RVP:

RVP: To what do you attribute your family’s long-term business success?
DH: The thing that attribute to our long-term business success is definitely our sarcastic way of delivering customer service. Not only do we just sell donuts, teriyaki, and offer a laundromat, we also offer laughs here. We aren’t your typical business in that we are constantly throwing jokes around here, even at the customer’s expense. This type of warm hearted banter brings people back year after year. And of course, people love our donuts and teriyaki, plus you can wash your draws here! IT’S A REAL PLACE!!

RVP: What would you say to people who think Rainier Beach is nothing but crime and violence?
DH: It’s complete non-sense! It’s unfortunate that the media can portray this area to be full of crime, but the truth is, crime happens everywhere! Rainier Beach is actually a strong neighborhood in that the community here contains such a strong bond that I have not seen in other communities. I feel the most safe here, than I do anywhere else.

RVP: What’s your biggest business challenge?
DH: I think the biggest business challenge that we have is bringing new customers to our shop who don’t live in the community. As I mentioned earlier, the media can portray this area to be something that it is not and deter potential new customers away.

RVP: Who’s the funniest member of the family?
DH:
Hard to say. It’s definitely a toss up between us siblings, but I’d have to go with my older sister, Channa Hay. She’s the most quick witted person I know and you can always guarantee that if she makes you a target for jokes, you’ll leave here in tears from laughter.

RVP: Who actually makes the donuts?
DH: Since my parents retired from making donuts, they’ve taught their recipe to our current baker, T.

RVP: What’s your favorite thing about the Rainier Valley?
DH: The most favorite thing about the Rainier Valley that I enjoy is seeing the cultural diversity here. It is truly amazing to see ethnic variety of cultures here, as anyone can find comfort in living here. No other community like ours. Come to think of it, the zip code 98118 won the award for most diverse zip in the US. So that says a lot.

RVP: Where did you learn to write so well?
DH: I have no idea! Never viewed myself as a gifted writer. But hey thanks for the compliment 🙂

RVP: Who’s idea was it to produce the YouTube video?
DH: The YouTube video was actually the idea of a customer of ours, Kevin Hyatt. He wanted to make a commercial for us to add to his portfolio and he loved the whole concept of having donuts, teriyaki, and a laundromat under one roof.

RVP: What do your parents think of the video?
DH: I think that my parents love it. It always makes them laugh.

RVP: Who’s your best customer?
DH: The kind that spends money here.

RVP: Who’s your worst customer?
DH: The kind who don’t spend money here.

RVP: What’s your favorite donut?
DH: So hard to narrow it down to one, but the large apple fritter is hard to resist!

King Donut is located at 9232 Rainier Ave. S. in Rainier Beach. Business hours are Monday-Friday from 6 am to 7:30 pm and Saturday-Sunday from 6:30 am to 7:30 pm.