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The Donut Theory campaigns for Knoxville’s only gluten-free donut shop
February 22, 2021

The Donut Theory woke up this morning to over $15,000 in pledges to their newly launched Kickstarter campaign — an effort to raise funds for a vehicle to expand their business.

donut theory knoxville
A pan of hot, gluten-free doughnuts from The Donut Theory; image submitted

The Donut Theory entered the gluten-free food scene in June of 2020, in the heart of a global pandemic. “I wanted good (and safe) gluten-free donuts to exist in Knoxville, but I was also looking for something to direct a lot of energy and emotion towards in a very difficult season for so many,” says Laura Crawford, owner of The Donut Theory. Laura also happened to be pregnant when she started this business. “It was just sort of something I always wanted and I felt like there was no better time. A lot of people said I was crazy for starting a business in the middle of a worldwide crisis, but I felt like it was the perfect launchpad.”

Laura chose to focus on one type of donut — old fashioned. Those are her favorite and she knew she could do them well. After nailing down the recipe, she started taking custom orders for classic old fashioned donuts and a few flavor varieties.



Since starting their business, Laura and her husband Daniel watched it grow rapidly — far beyond what they expected. They quickly transitioned from taking weekly orders to arranging pop-up events with local businesses. They have come to realize they simply can’t meet the demand for the product.

“It seems like the more donuts we produce, the more people show up in line, and the quicker we sell out. It’s really amazing,” says Crawford. “People are driving from one to two hours away and standing in line for 30-40 minutes to buy a few donuts.” The Crawfords signed a five year lease with the Kern’s Bakery Project in South Knoxville and will make their home there with their first storefront. Kern’s tentatively plans to open its doors in January of 2022.

Until then, the Crawfords are working hard to grow their business and meet the demand of customers. On Valentine’s Day The Donut Theory partnered with local business Flourish Flower Truck to deliver over 700 donuts all over the Knoxville area.

Their goal is to purchase a vintage vehicle to transform into a mobile donut shop, taking them all over Knoxville.



“We truly are at capacity,” says Crawford. “I hate turning people away when we sell out. That’s why we decided to start a Kickstarter. We felt like we needed the tools and resources to be able to expand our reach over the next year. We love our city and want to serve more people, especially during such difficult times.”

In less than one week, people all over Knoxville as well as many other cities and states have pledged over $15,000 to this campaign. “It’s unreal,” says her husband, Daniel. “It just really goes to show how much people believe in this product and this business. It’s also incredible to see Knoxville rally around something like this. I feel like it really says a lot about this city and its people.”

They have until March 22, 2021 to raise the remaining $15,000, or they lose all the money that has been pledged so far. The Donut Theory’s business slogan is “Sprinkle Kindness — The Old Fashioned Way,” and that is exactly what they are doing.

Although they operate only once a week, they hope this campaign will allow them to operate more days and times, and spread more kindness all over Knoxville.

To learn more about The Donut Theory, visit Find out more about their campaign and join their journey.

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