After four years of business in Press Bay Alley, popular downtown Ithaca shop One Ring Donuts is looking for new ownership.
According to its official website and Instagram, One Ring Donuts has been closed since April due to unexpected circumstances. Amy Cohen, One Ring’s founder, said that One Ring is open to many possibilities for its new ownership at this moment. Whoever has a donut dream, creativity, interest and skill can offer to buy the store through an online inquiry form until July 1.
“One Ring’s future is sincerely up to the creativity, interest, and skill set of whoever ends up taking on the business next,” Cohen said. “The physical space, equipped with a state-of-the-art kitchen designed for donut making, is the first thing to think about for a potential buyer, followed by what aspects of One Ring Donuts as a business they would want to keep the same, and which they might want to change, revise, or re-invent. There is openness to all possibilities at this point in the inquiry process.”
Founded by Amy Cohen and Kiera Carman in 2018, One Ring Donuts became a local favorite for its seasonally-inspired flavors, gluten-free and vegan options and friendly staff.
“[The experience at One Ring Donuts was] absolutely incredible every single time. The staff was always lovely. They made some of the best gluten-free and vegan donuts I’ve ever had,” said Avi Pryntz-Nadworny, who has remained a loyal customer of One Ring Donuts despite living in Rochester.
Joy Shen ’23, discovered One Ring Donuts by chance and has since frequented the shop many times and tried different flavors.
“They were all pretty good. Lemon poppy seed flavor in the summertime was the best,” Shen said. “I haven’t had it in a while and was thinking about going back, but it’s already too late.”
Instagram food reviewer Madi Yeh ’24 gave the store high praise.
“The staff are incredibly friendly every time, and the donuts never fail to disappoint,” Yeh said.
The donut shop has been a consistent community favorite. Katie Blake lived near the shop and frequently visited for the fresh donuts and friendly environment.
“One Ring is the best! Kiera [Carman] was frequently there and always friendly, and the staff have been great too,” Blake said. “My fiancé and I are obsessed with their donuts and always compare new ones we try back to One Ring. They are so moist, perfectly dense, and not too sweet.”
Cohen said support from One Ring’s enthusiastic customers was the primary source of the store’s success.
“We had such an amazing following,” Cohen said. “Thanks to the enthusiasm of our customers!”
The store remained open during the COVID-19 pandemic, making the dark months of the early pandemic a bit brighter for customers.
“Once early on during the pandemic, I drove all the way from my home in Rochester, NY just to get donuts from One Ring,” Pryntz-Nadworny said. “It was 1/3 an excuse to get out of my house and 2/3 a need to get their incredible donuts. It was totally worth the drive and really got me and my housemate through the next week.”
During the pandemic, Blake subscribed to One Ring’s “Donut Club,” a program in which One Ring allowed club members to get weekly donuts via contactless pick-up on a specific day. Picking up donuts gave Blake the opportunity to walk outside her home, breaking up the monotony of early pandemic quarantine.
“My fiancé and I spent the early months of the pandemic quarantined together in Ithaca, and the Donut Club was often the best part of our week,” Blake said. “We would look forward to doing our donut walk on Saturdays as a chance to leave the house for something fun.”
Having known the news that One Ring Donuts will change its ownership, the customers are sad to bid farewell to the previous owners.
“I was really bummed to hear they had to close for a while, but [I] just hope everybody is okay,” Blake said. “I am sad… because One Ring was one of my favorite things in Ithaca.”
With One Ring temporarily closed, former customers are wishing the old owners well and expressing their excitement for the future of the store.
“Y’all are amazing, awesome, generous, creative, passionate, thoughtful people,” said local parent Audrey Hyvonen. “My heart is full of gratitude for what you created in this world and I can’t wait to see what comes next for you and what comes next for one ring!”
But customers are somewhat divided on what they want from the new owners. Some, like Pryntz-Nadworny and Blake, said they hope the quality and key characteristics of the shop remain unchanged.
“I’m hoping that the new owner will keep One Ring going with the same recipes as before,” said Blake. “I really loved it when the flavors were rotating more frequently.”
On the other hand, customers like Hyvonen said they hope the store changes and improves with different ownership.
“I feel hopeful that new owners will bring their own excitement and creativity, continuing the passion and generosity already established,” Hyvonen said.
Some Cornellians who frequented One Ring are also hoping for an expansion to parts of Ithaca more regularly frequented by the University’s students.
“I would love to see One Ring be more involved on the Cornell campus, whether that be opening a store in collegetown, or selling their donuts on campus.”
One Ring Donuts has already received many inquiries and started to interview candidates, with a decision on new ownership expected in the near future.