The Rising Success of Crossfield's The Donut Man

James Blackwell works dough into donuts at The Donut ManStory by Allison Chorney
Photos by Britton Ledingham

When Charlotte and James Blackwell opened The Donut Man on Nov. 28, 2020, they had no idea how popular their donuts would become.

“We didn’t expect to blow up like this. This is insane, but in the best way possible,” Blackwell said.

She said the bakery, located at 1202 Railway Street, routinely sells about 100-dozen doughnuts a week – that’s 1,200 fabulous fried creations in just six days. The Donut Man has quickly become a favourite of donut-lovers from across Alberta and a customer from Italy called in an order for friends living in the Crossfield area.

“We’ve had people drive out from Saskatchewan for our donuts,” Blackwell said, adding it has become a habit to ask customers where they are from.

She said the success and community support are unbelievable.

“I don’t even know if we’ve really had time to think about it. It’s just so overwhelming,” she said. “We can’t believe that everybody likes our donuts as much as they do.” 

The husband-and-wife team had been casually making the donuts for more than 10 years, with several friends suggesting they sell the treats. But it wasn’t until the pandemic hit and James lost his job that the pair seriously began considering the possibility of a donut business.

It was also around this time that Blackwell began looking for a new employment opportunity.

They began experimenting in the hopes of replicating the recipe of Blackwell’s grandmother. After some trial and error, they bit into a donut that perfectly matched the lost family formula.

The result is a light and fluffy donut with an airy, melt-in-your mouth quality, just the right amount of sweetness and a perfectly subtle crispiness. Add to that the more than 30 available flavours – from plain to worms and dirt – and you’ve got something to delight every donut fan.

Made fresh daily using old-fashioned techniques, everything from the dough to the filling is handmade, and each donut is hand-cut and hand-dipped in fresh, handmade icing.

“Every day, James starts making the dough at 1 a.m. and doesn’t stop until an hour before close,” states the bakery’s website,

For donut lovers looking for a more hands-on experience, the DIY KIT comes with six fresh donuts, icing and toppings to create your one-of-a-kind creation at home.

Along with the delectable donuts, the Blackwells offer pretzel buns, various rolls, three-tier donut cakes, specialty coffees and milkshakes. The Donut Man's newest addition, just in time for summer, is the sundae bar where the bakery's already scrumptious sof0serce ice cream is elevated by a variety of topping options. The toppings can be added on top of the ice cream for a classic sundae or mixed throughout the dessert to create a Twister.

The Donut Man's regular hours are from  5:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 5:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays, and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays. The bakery's summer hours, which began on June 22, are Tuesday to Thursday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.