Duck Donuts opens its doors in King of Prussia

Gary Puleo — Digital first media Duck Donuts founder Russ DiGilio, center, with husband and wif

UPPER MERION >> Even before Duck Donuts took King of Prussia by storm last Saturday, folks were clamoring to succumb to the rounds of sticky, pillowy perfection the growing chain is famous for.

If they were lucky, some of the curious who poked their noses inside the shop at 201 Main St., across from City Works restaurant in King of Prussia Town Center, before opening day walked out with a sampling of doughnuts, courtesy of franchise owners Todd and Gayle Rindfuss.

“I hope you enjoy them and come back and see us,” Todd Rindfuss said to a pleasantly surprised gentleman whose impromptu visit he had generously sweetened with a dozen signature vanilla cake doughnuts topped with a variety of drizzles and sprinkles.

Duck Donuts founder Russ DiGilio had been on site all week helping to get the chain’s 46th store off the ground.


“We must have had 500 people coming around this week asking when we were going to open,” said DiGilio, who grew up in Rosemont and got the idea of launching a doughnut shop in the Outer Banks of North Carolina where he spent his summer vacations.

Not just any doughnut shop, but one where every confection is made to order and served up “fresh, hot and delicious,” DiGilio said.

“I was in healthcare for 30 years and started doing this just for fun as an entrepreneur because there was a need in the Outer Banks for a doughnut shop. There weren’t any brand name shops like Dunkin’ Donuts — nothing at all — and growing up, our family just loved homemade donuts. We came up with a recipe and a concept for a beach-style environment and opened our first stores in Duck and Kitty Hawk in 2007. After a couple of years, when things started to go well for us, we added a few more stores, in Corolla and Kill Devil Hills. Over a period of time our fan base just became very huge and people started to encourage us to franchise.”

The first franchise in Williamsburg, Va., four years ago was an immediate success, DiGilio recalled.

“We already had the name recognition and from there we branched out,” he said.

The expansion led to stores in Florida, Delaware, Georgia and New Jersey, where seaside brand familiarity is playing something of a role in the popularity of the King of Prussia location.

“A lot of people know Duck Donuts from being on vacation in Avalon,” explained DiGilio, who said there are currently 165 franchises in development in 16 states for the company whose mascot is a gregarious-looking duck casually sporting a striped shirt and red visor.

The franchise owners, who live in Pottstown, fell in love with the Duck Donuts concept while on vacation, Todd Rindfuss noted.

“My wife and I have been going to the Outer Banks for about 15 years and we saw the lines out the door at Duck Donuts, so we came home last August and visited Russ and his team in Mechanicsburg and I expressed a strong desire to open a franchise,” he said. “With their help we looked at demographics, population density, things like that. King of Prussia is just a magnate, and when we were introduced to the King of Prussia Town Center we felt it could be a home for us and the best place for our first store. We’re looking to grow in the area and we think of this as our flagship store.”

DiGilio said the brand was based on a simple homespun idea.

“We didn’t know of anyone else doing made to order doughnuts,” he allowed.

Fresh from the fryer, your coffee dunker — signature brews are available at all locations — may be ripe for a coating, such as cinnamon sugar, glazed, vanilla glazed, maple glazed, blueberry glazed, or quite capable of pleasing the palate on its own bare, crispy-on-the-outside terms.

From there, if desired, a variety of toppings are available to enhance the experience, including chocolate sprinkles, rainbow sprinkles, chopped peanuts, shredded coconut and the now culturally ubiquitous bacon, conveniently diced.

Still didn’t hit your sweet spot?

A drenching drizzle awaits, in the form of hot fudge, blackberry, raspberry and salted caramel.

“We make your doughnut exactly how you order it,” DiGilio said. “There are endless combinations. Kids really love to watch the doughnuts being made.”

With counter seating and limited tables outdoors from April to October, the shop serves largely as an “in and out” situation, DiGilio pointed out.

“People are mostly here to get warm fresh doughnuts, take them to the office or back home,” he said. “It’s not really designed to hang out with your laptop for a couple of hours.”

The King of Prussia location will be one of the prime spots catering to the “office hero” who picks up a dozen treats to share with co-workers, noted Duck Donuts spokesperson Kristin Kellum.

“Everyone gets excited about doughnuts,” she said.

Duck Donuts is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.