SLO Donut Company seeks to open shop in North County

Some of the offerings at SLO Donut Company in San Luis Obispo. About 90 varieties of doughnuts are made daily.
Some of the offerings at SLO Donut Company in San Luis Obispo. About 90 varieties of doughnuts are made daily.

SLO Donut Co., which opened in San Luis Obispo in October 2010, is seeking to open a second shop in Atascadero, where the owners live.

Jacob and Jesse Pickering are in lease negotiations to operate in the former Jack in the Box building located at 6320 El Camino Real, according to the city. The site has been vacant since summer 2009.

SLO Donut Co. at 793 Foothill Blvd. in San Luis Obispo offers nearly 90 flavors of donuts daily, from traditional flavors to more gourmet styles such as avocado and cream cheese, Nutella, and maple-bacon.

Other eateries have inquired about Atascadero’s former Jack in the Box location over the years, but city planners say the space has been difficult to fill because San Jose property owner James Provenzano still holds a lease agreement with the Jack in the Box chain for the space, even though it is closed. Current talks involve SLO Donut Co. subleasing the space from Jack in the Box, according to the city, although additional details on that arrangement weren’t disclosed.

The donut company is seeking to expand to Atascadero because it’s where the Pickering family lives, the city said. “(Jacob) Pickering is a resident of Atascadero and grew up here, and he wanted to take his business concept to his hometown,” city planner Alfredo Castillo said.

The Pickerings didn’t immediately return requests for comment Thursday.

However, the family told city planners that they’ve been eyeing Atascadero for about a year and preferred the former Jack in the Box site because it’s located on the city’s main thoroughfare, El Camino Real, between the high school and junior high campuses.

Although the company welcomes patrons of all ages, attracting student foot traffic is key; the SLO shop has positioned itself close to Cal Poly and various student housing complexes. Its coffee-shop style interior offers places to study, read or connect to the Internet with complimentary wireless and outlets for electronic devices throughout.

"We just really wanted to create a space that was fun and current, where people would also want to stay and hang out, not just come grab their donuts and leave,” Jesse Pickering previously said of the SLO location.

Atascadero city planners expect the Pickerings to apply for a building permit in July. Then, as part of the city’s economic development program for new businesses, the project will be fast-tracked to the city’s Design Review Committee to review its facade improvements within a few weeks of the permit application, Castillo said.

The owners are looking to make several improvements, including updates to the kitchen and bathroom, as well as adding a patio and landscaping outside, according to the city; they will also provide free Wi-Fi.

The business hopes to open by the end of the summer, in time for the beginning of the school year, according to the city.