Errol Malbrough has a round dream with a hole in it.
This Houma businessman is working on opening a Mr. Ronnie’s Famous Hot Donuts in Luling, based on the Houma-based chain with the same name, at a location at St. Charles Plaza, 127 Hwy. 90, Luling near Walmart.
Malbrough said he has a purchase agreement for the land and hopes to finalize financing for the project by mid-June. He proposes to start construction by July 1 on a 2,400-square-foot freestanding building that he plans to have completed in six months. It will have a drive-through window.
“This building is going to stand out,” he said of it being similar to the Mr. Ronnie’s in Houma but with a few ideas of his own, including seating for up to 30 people. “We’re going to have a Mr. Ronnie’s sign out front.”
Plans are to hire 12 people and grow that number as business grows, Malbrough said.
“I think, in this area, we’ll do real, real well,” he said. “It’s a no-lose situation. I just want to bring what Mr. Ronnie has in Houma here – an atmosphere where people can bring their kids and kids can go to.”
Malbrough also wants to offer the shop’s range of coffee specialties and more like frappes and lattes. He plans to offer fancy donuts, such as pecan frosted and maple bacon ‘eclairs, along with “Kolaches” for breakfast and Mr. Ronnie Burgers (sliders).
Mr. Ronnie’s donuts are indeed famous with customers saying,
“I’m hooked to the best donuts ever in history” or “I neeeeeeed them!”
The store offers an epic donut experience with fancy donuts that include chocolate-covered devil food and red velvet cake among its 40 tasty creations.
Owner Ronnie Picou founded the donut shop in 1976 in Houma when he bought the location from the late Al Copeland, restaurateur of Copeland’s of New Orleans and Cheesecake Bistro fame. Soon, Picou earned his own fame as “The Donut Man.”
By age 50, Malbrough decided he wanted to be his own boss and gravitated to a business concept he understood, as well as one that would allow him to have employees he could treat like family. He’s also willing to put the hard work and money into his dream.
“Sometimes you get caught in success and forget how you got there,” he said. “I want to make a difference.”
He grew up with Picou’s children so one day he walked into the Houma shop and told them he was thinking about opening his own donut shop. They told him to give them a month and he could get a Mr. Ronnie’s franchise, which he did, and this is how plans to open the Luling shop got its start.
“I’ve been looking for a location for a long time,” he said.Galliano, Lafayette and Thibodaux didn’t work out in the nearly five years he scouted for sites, but when Malbrough drove through the Luling area he saw growth and possibilities.
“It’s just flourished,” he said of the area. He found an impressive traffic count, numerous subdivisions nearby with potential customers and a 10-minute drive from I-310 to the location. “I told myself, ‘This is going to work out.’”
“I’m going to be the Al Copeland of Mr. Ronnie’s,” Malbrough said of his plans to open this shop and many more if he can manage it.