Company News

Indie Closeup: Filling a Hole in the Local Market

New retail doughnut format is boosting Temp-Stop’s competitive advantage in a big way
Photograph courtesy of Temp-Stop

For about two decades, Lee’s Summit, Missouri-based Temp-Stop partnered with local suppliers to support its merchandising of fresh doughnuts and various other baked goods to its dozen locations. Within that arrangement, something proved to be amiss.

Since late 2022, the independent operator with 12 units across Kansas and Missouri has thrived by controlling its own doughnut destiny, as monthly sales—undisclosed—continue to climb after it unveiled its first Baxter’s Coffee + Donuts retail mark in December.

“Dunkin’, Casey’s [General Stores] and many other competitors are shipping frozen product to stores, and letting their stores thaw, warm and ice them—not us,” said Terry Green, co-owner of Temp-Stop along with his brother Tim.

“We produce doughnuts, get them straight on trucks, and get them to stores by around 10 p.m. every night. Freshness and quality ingredients are the difference that our competitors can’t compete against,” said Green, who has operated the chain for about two decades.

Hand made from scratch with a personal touch, Baxter’s doughnuts stands apart from the crowd. To promote program efficacy and demonstrate commitment to the venture, Team Green hired a pastry chef from Iowa who has been making quality, artisanal pastries for more than 40 years.

“We initially considered developing a ghost kitchen to produce, but re-thought that. Baked goods prepared in-store was the way to go because, really, there is nothing like the experience of walking into a doughnut shop,” said Terry Green, who employs about 200 team members.

Entering June, Temp-Stop was operating two local Baxter’s Coffee + Donuts, including the Lee’s Summit location. The 4,000-square-foot shop was built to handle production of 8,000 to 10,000 doughnuts per day, said Green, adding that they also supply seven Kansas City-area Temp-Stop stores.

All total, it takes three large fryers to support daily production along with two ovens. Beyond doughnuts, Baxter’s also offers Dutch letters, pastry pies, Danishes, turnovers, sandwiches and wraps.

Read ahead for a conversation with co-owner Terry Green about the advent of quality doughnuts and other notable profit centers for which Temp-Stop stores are well known.

Q: Not including Baxter’s, how does Temp-Stop differentiate itself in local markets from a competitive standpoint?

A: We are competitive on pricing on tobacco, soft drinks and more. Not the lowest by any means, but competitive. There will always be someone lower, but they won’t offer the same best- in-class facility and service. We don’t offer hot foods everywhere: if we have a Sonic, McDonalds or other fast feeder next door, we’ve learned that hot foods are not profitable. Most all our stores now have beer caves, with many running below 32 degrees to offer the coldest beer around.

Q: Temp-Stop is in the midst of developing a new store planogram to infuse an array of new products into the mix. Can you detail the initiative?

A: The pandemic shifted things into high gear. We recently opened our ‘prototype’ store that all future Temp-Stops will be based upon. It’s a 3-acre site that was a former Pilot truckstop. Local zoning restrictions didn’t allow us to rebuild a truckstop, so we built a large convenience store: nearly 7,000 square feet serving hot food with seating, drive-thru, beer cave, expanded liquor section and Baxter’s, of course. All the bells and whistles. Some items are succeeding, some items are being replaced.

In short, we’re continually attempting to anticipate our customers’ evolving needs, and I’m constantly pushing my team to fail. The path to success comes from trying new things—some won’t work, and that’s okay.

Q: Describe the typical Baxter’s footprint in Temp-Stop stores and its positioning in relation to the check stand?

A: Each store is a little different. Our higher volume stores will get two doughnut cases and carry almost 50 different fresh [SKU] options—and have backstock racks to refill. Our slower stores will be one case and carry about half the variety. Most often, doughnut cases are next to the checkout counters.

Q: How did you get involved in convenience retailing?

A: While in college, I had the opportunity to do an internship with a local entrepreneur who was transitioning from smaller grocery stores to convenience stores. After graduating, I joined his team full time and learned the trade for approximately 10 years before starting Temp-Stop.   

Q: What is the management team’s approach to finding and retaining solid workers?

A: This is the core of everything we do: taking care of people. Our business is based on consistently providing outstanding service to customers. There are competitors everywhere selling similar products, and some offer lower prices. Customers keep returning because they know us and know the stores are clean, shelves are stocked and they’ll get great service. I don’t think there is any secret to finding talented people. Our success is driven by our ability to keep them. In that regard, our best people have been with us for years.  

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