OSU graduate opens up donut shop

Kevin Connelly

Corvallis residents can now have fresh doughnuts delivered straight to their door thanks to Ben Augeri, an OSU graduate who recently started the online doughnut store Benny’s Donuts with just a few friends and an ancient family recipe.

    “I use a family recipe that’s 202 years old,” Agueri said. “I was like ‘How about we take this mix, mix the secret family sauce with it and poof, this amazing, fluffy cake doughnut came out.”

    Agueri estimates that he makes well over 2000 doughnuts a night and has been known to sell out in as little as 30 minutes. Considering the limited hours during which Benny’s doughnuts operates (late nights Tuesday through Friday), Agueri seems to be off to a strong start, which Agueri attributes to the close group of friends that he works with.

    “I’m going to only hire good people that want to do something better — something awesome — be part of something and really crunch their teeth into it,” Agueri said.

    Augeri, who experimented with making doughnuts in his garage during college, graduated with a degree in geology and no plans for the future. It was after being accepted into the OSU advantage accelerator program that Augeri decided to pursue doughnuts full time.  

    “The accelerator program offers entrepreneurs the opportunity to gain innovative insight through education, additional toolsets and the resources necessary for success,” said Mark Lieberman, Chief Startup Officer and Director of the program. “Benny has all the attributes of a great entrepreneur (…) He also makes one of the best doughnuts I have ever tasted.”

    With this support and early success, plans for expanding Benny’s Donuts are already in the works. Augeri plans to open a storefront in the downtown area before this summer which would provide Corvallis with its first doughnut shop. In addition to doughnuts, Augeri plans on selling coffee and an undisclosed product new to Corvallis, which he plans to keep under wraps until the store opens.

    “It’s not a brewery, not just a coffee shop, it’s not a restaurant,” Augeri said. “I want to do something a little different in Corvallis as just a fun thing that people can come into and just enjoy at the storefront.”

    While his business has enjoyed success so far, Augeri also acknowledges the challenges of running your own business, especially with such ambitious plans for the future. Augeri works anywhere from 80 to 90 hours a week doing anything from making doughnuts, to managing the company’s finances. Charles Murnieks, an Assistant Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship in the College of Business at OSU, believes that Ben is up to the challenge.

    “In Ben’s case, the competition in his space is fierce and he has to work really hard to pull everything together to make this business work,” Murnieks said. “I think [Ben’s] passion and his tenacity are two things that will be very important on this journey.”

    Augeri said that for now, he just wants to make the best doughnut business that he can and feels grateful to be his own boss, work with his friends and do something that he enjoys.

    “What it comes down to is fun — it’s what you want to do,” Augeri said. “I just keep my head down, feet on the pavement and keep moving.”

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