Gary Cooper, left, orders a box of donuts at the Donut Factory on Mound Road, south of 12 Mile Road. The family closed the shop on Aug. 14 after 39 years.

Gary Cooper, left, orders a box of donuts at the Donut Factory on Mound Road, south of 12 Mile Road. The family closed the shop on Aug. 14 after 39 years.

Photo by Brian Louwers


Family's 39 years at Warren doughnut shop ends with smiles, memories

By: Brian Louwers | Warren Weekly | Published August 16, 2021

 Tom and Lillian Taseski bought the Donut Factory in September 1982.

Tom and Lillian Taseski bought the Donut Factory in September 1982.

Photo provided by Sonia Janceski

 Vesna Zlateski, left, Sonia Janceski and Lillian Taseski greeted Donut Factory customers on one of the last days for the family business in Warren.

Vesna Zlateski, left, Sonia Janceski and Lillian Taseski greeted Donut Factory customers on one of the last days for the family business in Warren.

Photo by Brian Louwers

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WARREN — The Taseski family spent decades greeting Donut Factory customers with smiles, boxes packed with fresh-made comfort and cups of liquid sunshine.

The final days of their run on Mound Road, south of 12 Mile Road, were filled like a custard doughnut with friendly greetings, an outpouring of memories, and, yes, a few tears, as people passed through the door to exchange kind words and cash for one more round of sweet and savory treats.

The last day was Aug. 14.

“Even when all those other places opened, they still came in here,” Lillian Taseski said of her customers, pausing briefly on a bustling morning behind the counter to thank them for their patronage and their loyalty. “Thank you for the memories,” Taseski said. “We’ll be talking about this when we’re sitting in our rocking chairs. This was our life for 39 years.”

Tom and Lillian Taseski made the decision to sell the business this summer after they were approached by a buyer. The couple bought the Donut Factory in September 1982. It was already a doughnut shop then after a previous life as a hamburger restaurant.

“My husband worked at Chrysler, on the line,” she said. “I worked at a bakery, my uncle’s bakery. My parents used to own a bakery. He used to work for various relatives. The Macedonian community was the large bakery community. Now, they’re all shutting down.”     
She said her husband started looking for opportunities to start a business of their own when they got married.

“My parents had a business. I know how it is,” Lillian Taseski said. “It’s a rough life. But he always … he came to America as a 19-year-old and he wanted to succeed, so that was his dream.”

Tom Taseski happened upon the Donut Factory one day and spoke to the owner at the time, another factory worker who was running the shop with his kids. It wasn’t listed for sale, but the conversation eventually led to that.

“They worked it out and we borrowed some money from all our relatives,” Lillian Taseski said. “With two little babies, we bought it and, you know, over the years, my parents, my mom worked here, his parents came over specifically to help us watch the kids so that we could be here day and night.”

And about those infamous doughnut shop hours?

“Oh, all night. All night,” Lillian Taseski remembered. She said Tom would actually start the night before, getting ready to make the doughnuts at 7 p.m. or 8 p.m.

“First, when we started, it was just doughnuts, and then a year into it he decided to bring in the food,” she said. “He got recipes from friends that had restaurants, and then we whipped up some of our own soups. We wanted to make it kind of light, no grill or anything.”

Beef and spinach and cheese pasties came later, and they were a hit among customers to the very last days. They also added broasted chicken to the menu.

Until two years ago, the Donut Factory was open for 24 hours. Business has remained good, despite the neighboring drive-thrus, which they don’t have.

“In our heyday, like in the ’90s, the booths were packed at lunchtime. The counter was packed, the line was to the wall,” Lillian Taseski said.

 The most noticeable drop in business came after the Great Recession hit in 2009.

 “Ever since then, it just hasn’t been the same. We’re doing well, but not like it was,” she said.

Sonia Janceski and her siblings, Monika and Steven, grew up working at the family business. Now 40 and a first grade teacher, Janceski said getting up early to work there was as much a part of her childhood as watching cartoons and eating a bowl of cereal were for her friends.

Janceski came back to work at the Donut Factory during the family’s final days there.

“They spend their lives here, like literally, 15-hour days,” she said of her parents. “My mom, I don’t know how she does it.

“I always wanted to be a customer here,” Janceski said. “They know people’s names. They know their life stories. They’ve gone to some people’s funerals.”

Nicole McCaw grew up in Warren and now lives in New York City. Her parents are in Center Line, and her brother learned about the Donut Factory’s closing on social media.

“My heart is dying. I love coming here,” McCaw said. “I make this my staple. I’ve been coming here for years. They make a very special cherry chip doughnut from a recipe that’s from the 30s. My favorite. Everyone here is wonderful. The company is wonderful, always so stimulating and educational. To find out that they’re closing is just sad, but it’s also nice that they’re retiring.

“I like the local spots. They’re special,” McCaw said. “That’s what makes our places unique, right?”

Lillian Taseski said the buyer didn’t specify what would replace the Donut Factory.

“When you have loyal people coming in, it’s not, ‘Hello, give me your money, goodbye.’ I don’t know what it’s going to be,” she said. “We asked him and he said it’s going to be retail.

“What I really wish is that somebody would buy it the way it is and run it. Nobody ever approached us for that. I think they know how hard it is,” Lillian Taseski said.

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