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Wednesday, July 22, 2015

BREAKING: Holtman's NOT Coming to Fort Thomas

Fort Thomas kids at an early morning cash mob organized by some Fort Thomas business leaders. 
Holtman's Donuts is not coming to Fort Thomas after a four-month campaign to woo the trendy pastry artisan to the Hiland Building failed to come to fruition.

The campaign started after a March 27 article on WCPO was published. Co-owner of the OTR location, Katie Willing, said, "Now that we have a little bit of a reputation, we want to pick a neighborhood that wants us there."

And so Fort Thomas began to show them how badly they wanted them. Hundreds of Facebook posts and tweets. Organized cash mobs. Meetings, articles, podcasts and invites to events in town. It didn't go unnoticed.

"I think it was the overwhelming response by our residents that kept us in the game for Holtman's," said Debbie Buckley, Economic Director of Fort Thomas. "They saw how intensely the people of Fort Thomas really wanted them. We're going to continue to support them."

Willing and fiance Danny Plazarin, submitted a proposal to open a Holtman’s location at the former Root Beer Junction space in Madeira’s train depot back in March. The city of Madeira received 11 unsolicited proposals for the train depot space, including Holtman’s.

Plazarin is the grandson of Holtman's founder, Charles Holtman.

They were looking for about 2,500-3,000 square feet, double the space that the Over-The-Rhine location had and according to them, they are taking their time. They planned on getting a fourth store open in 2015, but they are getting married this September and their other stores are bursting at the seams.

Willing said there is more pressure on this next location than the Over-the-Rhine store because of its success. The proximity to the Over-The-Rhine store may have been the main factor in not coming to Fort Thomas.

Owner of the Hiland Building, Dan Gorman, said he's committed to bringing a quality retailer to Fort Thomas."The two retail spaces are key locations in the center of town and we'd like to be patient and to find great tenants that will draw people to our Central Business District. We want tenants the town will support and are prepared to make a significant investment in the space to get that done," he said.


  1. So Ft Thomas is too close to the other location? I don't go there because it's a pain in the rear to get into and out of.

  2. I'm surprised that Holtman's didn't realize how close Ft Thomas is to Cincinnati when they started all this. Anyway, it was fun begging them to sell donuts in Ft Thomas.

  3. I'll miss the opportunity to stand in line for donuts.

  4. Bringing Holtman's to Fort Thomas was a pipe dream. We aren't on the way to anywhere, and a city of our size can't even support a bakery that only has 4 employees. How would we support one that employees 25-30 people?

    They are looking for a high-traffic area, and Ft Thomas is just not a fit for that. You can only sell so many doughnuts to the same people, day after day. You need a location that brings in commuters and people that work in the area. That is not here.

  5. The Renaissance team did an outstanding job and I think the fact that they seriously considered Fort Thomas speaks to the transformation the business district has made.

    The change in ownership at The Hiland is going to be a really, really good thing. I would bet you'll start seeing the fruits of that and the attempt at getting Holtman's, soon.