10 to Watch Winner: Bigfoot Donuts

As the only artisanal, made-from-scratch donut shop in the Comox Valley, Bigfoot Donuts is a sweet part of the Vancouver Island food revolution.

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Lyndsey Bell and Jay Valeri. Photo by Jeffrey Bosdet

Entrepreneurship is in Lyndsey Bell’s blood — her family has owned businesses in the Comox Valley since 1920.

“It was only a matter of time before I found my own calling,” says Bell, who despite a successful professional career in finance was unable to curb the desire to run her own business. “I knew I loved business, but what else did I love so I could combine the two?”

The answer: donuts.

“My husband, Jay [Valeri] and I had done numerous road trips throughout the Pacific Northwest where we visited countless donut shops,” she explains. “It became clear we needed this in our town.”

The pair spent three years taking the idea from concept to store opening, saving the funds, putting together the business plan and developing the brand — Bigfoot Donuts — as well as the perfect dough recipe.

A savvy social media marketing campaign leading up to Bigfoot Donuts’ official opening in May of 2017 meant the shop sold out their 800 donuts in one hour. Since then, Bigfoot has continued its impressive sales and is looking at expanding in the Comox Valley with kiosk-style locations, with the current location acting as the flagship and production space.

“There is a revolution happening now in the local food scene on Vancouver Island,” Bell says. “We are happy to be an emerging player.”

A Q & A with Lyndsey Bell of Bigfoot Donuts

What was the best business advice you ever received?

There wasn’t one profound piece I can recall; rather it was having role models and being surrounded by entrepreneurs. It was actually negative advice that was the biggest motivator — having non-entrepreneurs incite fear of starting a food business pushed me to prove them wrong.

What would you do differently if you could do it all again?

I would have done it sooner! We are having a lot of fun building this business in spite of the incredible amount of hard work and long hours. It’s worth it to do what you love.

What advice would you give to someone just starting out?

Make a plan and believe in yourself. Surround yourself with good people and like minds.

This article is from the April/May 2019 issue of Douglas.