Voodoo Doughnut’s love affair with Denver is set to reach another level — potentially even to a cruising altitude of 35,000 feet — when the purveyor of (mostly) ring-shaped treats opens a location at Denver International Airport later this year.
Voodoo and its partners have been eyeing a DIA location since late 2019 at least. The COVID-19 pandemic delayed those plans but didn’t punch a permanent hole in them.
Design review work is underway now, partners say, and, come late fall, the mezzanine of Concourse B will host the third Voodoo store in the Mile High City.
“Voodoo digs Denver and Denver digs Voodoo,” CEO Chris Schultz said of the high-profile but still small chain’s decision to open at DIA. “We’re not planning on going in any other airports in the future. Denver just made sense.”
With offerings ranging from conventional cake doughnuts to creations like raspberry jelly-filled voodoo doll bars, Voodoo’s confections were a cult sensation before the company ever ventured beyond the borders of its home state of Oregon.
When the brand did branch out, Denver was the first place in landed, opening in a former Rent-A-Center on East Colfax Avenue in 2013. A second Denver location followed on South Broadway in 2019.
Like it did with its locations at Universal Orlando Resort in Florida and the Universal CityWalk in Hollywood, Calif., Voodoo is working with someone with experience running businesses in unique environments — in this case, one of the country’s busiest international airports — to make the DIA store a success.
Jen Winchester has signed a licensing agreement with the company to own and operate the airport Voodoo through her company JAF Concessions. Winchester had been involved in retail at DIA since 2009 and runs or helps to run eight businesses at the airport today including an Aksels clothing store that opened on Concourse B last week.
The future Voodoo Doughnut was previously a location of Winchester’s SkyMarket grab-and-go food concept before she shut it down amid the pandemic. When the space — near the airport’s forthcoming Shake Shack and Snooze locations — reopens, it will be bathed in Voodoo’s pink and black decorating motif and smell of frying sugar.
“I’ve been a true fan of Voodoo for a long time,” Winchester said. “I became an instant regular just because it’s a fun concept, something you can take to a birthday party or a get-together and people just light up when they see those pink boxes.”
She expects business travelers who pass through DIA often — her regulars — to also build a strong connection with the brand. She said she already sees people bringing boxes from the company’s other stores through security to take to their destinations.
The store, which is expected to operate from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily upon opening with aims to eventually expand to 24 hours, will bring 70 jobs to the airport, partners say.
Winchester is excited to celebrate some good news after the pandemic caused the most emotionally and financially taxing year of her life, a year she said she only made it through thanks to the dedication of the employees at her airport businesses.
“We were able to make it through and I feel really really positive about the future, JAF’s future and Voodoo’s future,” she said.
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