Jun. 23—ROCHESTER — The orthodontist is not always a kids or adults favorite stop.
Getting braces comes with aches and pains, but Dr. Grant Collins of Collins Orthodontist has found a way to have his patients — and all people of Rochester — make the experience more rewarding.
The Donut, or "Donut About Smiles" on social media, officially opened on June 6 and has become Rochester's newest sweet shop.
The shop has been operating since March 2022
, but was exclusive to patients of Collins Orthodontist over the three month soft open.
Collins was inspired to open up the shop for two reasons: To have a place for parents to wait and relax while their kids' braces are removed, and provide a revenue stream for the Adopt-A-Shark Program, which covers 100% of the expense of orthodontic treatment for children cancer survivors.
Collins spoke on the Adopt-A-Shark Program and how meaningful it is to have a donut shop with 100% of income funding the project.
"Families who came to us and had their kids go through cancer treatment seemed incredibly stressed at the end of paying for braces. They had these massive medical bills for the treatments and some couldn't afford braces at all because of the treatment bills. So we launched Adopt-A-Shark and we have yet to turn anyone away who has applied for it," said Collins.
The program has been running since October 2018 and helped hundreds of families receive free braces. Now with The Donut open, Collins and director of operations for Collins Orthodontist Kelsey Royce are more hopeful than ever to expand the program for more patients.
"It's really fun to share 'Donut About Smiles' with the public now. We've been getting them excited about different flavors for our mini donuts, and people feel real good about what the money for the mini-donuts go towards, which will help us in giving more braces to those who can't afford them," said Rocye.
Collins is all about making life better for those who need orthodontic work done, and it's not just by serving up sweet fried treats. His
boasts 4.4 million followers who tune in for fun dancing and smile-widening videos that talk about common concerns with having braces.
One thing that differentiates The Donut from a local Dunkin' Donuts chain are the flavors. Collins and his wife Kimberly have been longtime fans of the television show Master Chef, and were drawn in completely for season 10 in 2019.
What captured their attention the most was contestant Shari Mukherjee, a Rochester resident who finished in the top five contestants of that season. After the season's conclusion, Collins and his wife made it a priority to meet Mukherjee.
"We got in contact and had Shari do our team Christmas dinner that year and we loved everything about that. We shared with her we'd love to do mini donuts but elevate the experience by doing these unique sugar blends. My wife, Sheri, and I came up with these flavor ideas that we taste tested for a year or more until we found the initial flavors we wanted and have out there now," said Collins
Mukherjee is the head chef creating all the different flavor recipes The Donut has to offer from Skittles, peanut butter pretzel and even frosted animal crackers (Collins' personal favorite). Not only do these flavors create an experience for customers across Rochester wanting to try these mini-donuts. They provide a braces-friendly treat for any kid or adult who has endured an hour's time of getting metal plates on their teeth.
Some have asked if The Donut will increase a customer base for Collins Orthodontist since they are supplying so much sugar now. To which both Collins and Royce answer, no.
"We're not just creating our own business with the sugar. We don't fill cavities; that's the dentist job," said Royce.
"We get teased all the time about our shop," added Collins. "When it comes to oral health, kids or adults won't always stay away from sweets altogether. The more important part is that you're brushing afterwards and one order of mini-donuts won't directly lead to cavities."
Collins and Royce are excited to see the growth of The Donut over the summer as more families make their way over after the public opening. There are more flavors to come from the 17 already available at The Donut. The only flavor on the way that Collins gave a preview of was puppy chow.
And if any customer testimony encourages Rochester residents to try out The Donut, just hear from the words of Cash Johnson, 13, who paid his first visit to the shop today.
"This is my dream," exclaimed Johnson when receiving his bags of mini-donuts.