Sandy’s Donuts is the result of one man, Sandy Ostlund’s unfortunate job loss and love for making donuts. Former farmer, truck driver preacher, service station owner, baker, bus driver, Sandy lost his job running a trucking company at 55 years old. He found it very difficult to find a job and soon became very frustrated. A good friend and neighbor suggested to him, “Why don’t you open a donut shop”. Now you might think that odd suggestion but what you don’t know is that Sandy loved to make donuts. As a child his mother had taught him to make donuts in a cast iron pan on a coal burning stove using her buttermilk donut recipe. As an adult he would make them often and deliver them to his friends and neighbors and they were delicious.
It also so happens that the bakery in West Fargo, where Sandy lived, had closed down in the past year and was sitting empty. Sandy took the idea and ran with it. After some research and talking to a donut shop in another town, he borrowed some money, bought some equipment and started making donuts on Sept. 13th 1983. It was hit! The people of West Fargo loved Sandy and boy did they love his donuts.
Sandy’s dream was a ma and pa style business where he made donuts at night while his wife Donna with some help sold them during the day. That lasted about a week and they were soon hiring more help to try to keep up with the demand for donuts. They were so busy they often could not get home and just took naps in the back room in sleeping bags. Their son Mark heard this and being the outstanding son he was, left school and came home to help. Ok maybe outstanding is a stretch but he did come home to help and now Sandy’s became a family business.
The three of them did not always get along but they made a good team and Sandy’s continued to grow. They moved to a new location a few blocks away on Dec. 29th 2002. It was an old Hardees building and it gave them twice the space and much need parking. This is also when Mark took over running the business. Donna retired but Sandy did not want to stop doing what he loved to do. He slowed down, but was still an important part of the business. October 13th 2008 Sandy passed away after having a stroke a few months earlier that he did not recover from. He had still been working every day until the stroke.
The story does not end there though. Sandy’s legacy lives on. Things really started to blossom over the next few years. The Sandy’s name was becoming quite famous and people were lined out the door to buy donuts some days. A testament to the quality product he made and taught others to make.
On Sept. 22nd 2014 a vision of a second location became reality as Sandy’s on Broadway opened in downtown Fargo, right by the Fargo Theater nonetheless. It too was an instant success and embraced by Fargo and its visitors.
This expansion also created a big problem. All the donuts for both locations were being made in the production kitchen in West Fargo and that kitchen was too small already. With only one fryer it was taking 18 hours a day to make the donuts. In 2015 a 2000 sq. ft. addition was started on the West Fargo building giving them the donut production space needed. Now they are able to produce a lot more donuts and a third location is being considered.
Sandy took what most would consider a very unfortunate turn of events (losing his job at 55) and turned it into an opportunity to make a living do something he loved.
“Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.” -Maria Robinson