POCATELLO — Just a year and a half after the delivery of their first mini-donuts in February 2018, Pocatello High School graduates Rueben and Romen Barela have plans to fulfill a dream by expanding their horse-trailer mini-donut business into a storefront that will help revitalize the downtown area in which they grew up and loved.
Having done all the remodeling of their horse trailer themselves, the brothers are now using their skills to modernize “the old Gary’s” building, right next to Poky High at 401 N. Arthur Ave., for the Donut Bros grand opening this fall.
“This building has been on our radar for quite some time,” Rueben said. “The right opportunity came up, and we decided to go for it. It used to be such a popular place growing up so we’re excited to bring it back to life. … We both love creating spaces where people can come in and have a good time like on a date or with some family or friends. I think Pocatello has kind of lacked that. … We wanted to bring that kind of space to the students across from Pocatello High School.”
Besides doughnut, Rueben said the store will offer a soda bar, soft-serve ice cream and candies in a fun atmosphere amid its new rustic/modern/industrial design.
“We want to create a fun environment with music and fun employees,” Rueben said. “We hope to eventually expand out to street parties and invite other vendors. Pocatello needs a funner atmosphere for the younger crowd that’s here. That’s what we hope to provide for this area. A lot of the new developments are all going out to Chubbuck. We want to keep our roots here and bring back the memories that people did have once upon a time of Old Town being the poppin’ side of town.”
Twenty-seven-year-old Rueben and 24-year-old Romen were born and raised in Pocatello in a family of eight children. Because of the family’s size, Rueben said they have always had to work hard, help with the family chores like cooking and find new ways to make extra money — all of which led to the eventual establishment of Donut Bros.
Rueben said that he and Romen, while looking through Pinterest, saw someone reinventing new ways to use horse trailers.
“I had never seen a horse trailer used for something original like this in this area, which was surprising to me because of all the horses and farming communities around,” Rueben said. “We found this old horse trailer for $500 off of Facebook in Blackfoot.”
Rueben also said that he noticed that mini-doughnuts were becoming a hot-selling and catering item around the U.S. The Barelas bought a mini-doughnut maker, and “it was trial and error from there.”
“There was really no one in this area marketing towards that,” Rueben said. “Mini doughnuts are blowing up all over the United States, not just here in Pocatello. We saw the niche and we went for it.”
With five younger siblings to help with deliveries, the Barelas accept orders for delivery in Pocatello and Chubbuck every Friday and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
“Our doughnuts are made fresh the day of delivery and include an optional complimentary hand-written note if customers want,” Rueben said. “We pride ourselves on being the fastest delivery so that people can still taste our doughnuts while they are warm.”
The Donut Bros horse trailer can also regularly be found at the Portneuf Valley Farmer’s Market on Saturdays and at Revive@5 on Wednesdays at the Old Town Pocatello Pavilion on Main Street. They also cater all types of events such as weddings, receptions, birthday parties, or company parties throughout the year and can accommodate indoor or outdoor venues.
Besides offering traditional flavors such as glazed, vanilla, chocolate, maple and cinnamon-sugar doughnuts, Rueben said that as their doughnut-making skills evolve, they hope to have a “new specialty flavor of the month.” So far, the “Butterfinger,” “Unicorn (Tutti Fruiti topping),” and “Parker (vanilla with cinnamon sugar — named after the family friend who accidentally discovered it)” have been added to their menu selection.
Rueben said that the demand for their doughnuts is getting crazy.
“During the car show recently, the people were lined up and we had orders continually going out,” he said. “It gets pretty wild sometimes, but it has been worth it.”
Order information can be found at their website, thedonutbros.com.