Once upon a time, in a quiet town in southern Indiana, a man named Harold Kempf had a dream.
He was an unassuming man. A husband, a father, a hard-working family man.
Yet, he dreamt of starting a bakery business with his wife, Shirley. He wanted to develop a formula for donuts and coffee their fellow Evansville, Indiana, residents would savor forever. They believed there wasn’t a bakery within miles producing donuts the way Harold knew they could – and should – taste.
Harold’s passion for baking and creating tasty treats was instilled in him as an early family tradition. His father worked as a baker at Honey Crust Bakery in the 1940s, and Harold later worked for Colonial Bakery.
But working for someone else, and using someone else’s recipe, wasn’t quite enough for Harold. What he envisioned was significantly more special, albeit ambitious.
It was the type of ambition that scares people. To imagine a future built from a vision – especially of a product and a business that didn’t yet exist - has a certain power to make people uncomfortable.
Harold began working with a flour company from Chicago to develop an original recipe for the donuts of his dreams. However, the technician who was sent for the collaboration, abandoned the project - telling him the recipe would never know success.
As you might imagine, finding a financial institution to work with was difficult as well.
His ambition even raised the eyebrows of his own children. Would a business making donuts and coffee be successful?
Old National Bank thought so. Old National was the only financial institution to believe in Harold’s cause, and one of the very first supporters of Harold Kempf’s donut shop. Finally, someone saw the bigger picture, the way Harold did.
Harold’s business model was rooted in a passion for people, their experiences and a desire not simply to serve donuts, but to provide a quality, thoughtfully produced donut served with excellent customer service. He wanted to create a place that would last forever, and become ingrained as a part of the community – where customers felt as if they were family.
In 1967, Old National Bank provided the financing Harold used to open the very first Donut Bank Bakery and Coffee Shop, located on First Avenue in Evansville. In 1974, a second location opened on Weinbach Avenue. Just two years after that, a third location saw its grand opening on St. Joseph Avenue.
With the help from Old National, Harold Kempf proved everyone wrong. Yet, this was never his mission.
Over the years, Donut Bank became a local community staple. A shop customers could trust and rely on - a reprieve from large chains and robotic customer service; that just so happened to offer delicious donuts and carefully crafted coffee. This was Harold’s mission.
As Donut Bank has garnered success over the years, the business has continued to expand. There are nine locations throughout Indiana and Kentucky, and Old National has been proud to help secure the shop’s future, and success.
The Donut Bank’s Diamond Avenue location is where all the magic happens. With more than 100 different donuts and baked goods, everything is hand-cut and made with careful consideration (following Harold’s original donut formula) under one roof. In the early morning hours, donuts are delivered daily to each of their respective locations. This ensures the level of quality, and freshness of the product Harold Kempf envisioned so many moons ago. He delivered something unique.
As the Donut Bank continues to evolve, Old National is proud to serve a company with whom we share so many values. It is a gratifying part of our work as a community bank to be a part of 50 years (and counting) of success, and tradition.
While Harold and Shirley have since retired, their sons serve as president and vice presidents of the company. And at the heart of things, all family members have been involved in the business’ success: daughters, sons, grandchildren, aunts, uncles and cousins alike.
One thing that will never change:
The family’s dedicated, genuine commitment and enthusiasm to serving their loyal customers donuts that dreams are made of.
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