Dutch Girl Donuts in Detroit to reopen after pandemic shutdown

Dutch Girl Donuts closed its doors at the end of August 2021

DETROIT – Dutch Girl Donuts had been a Detroit favorite since the 1940s, but during the pandemic, times got tough, and the business closed down.

But there’s good news for the small donut company as they’re officially back.

Dutch Girl Donuts was a heartwarming memory for many across the city as it closed after the pandemic, and the building has taken quite a beating.

But Friday (June 9), Local 4 could tell you that the company will fix the place up and renew a tradition three generations in the making.

Customers knew Gene Timmer as the donut man that always dressed in white.

He and his retired school teacher wife, Lauren Timmer, made the memorably delicious chocolate crullers, the hand-rolled cinnamon rolls, or glazed chocolate donuts.

They died shortly after that, and their children weren’t sure what to do. But, in April, they asked Detroit if anyone wanted to help keep the Dutch Girl Donuts tradition alive.

Local 4 spoke via Zoom Friday with JoHanna Timmer-Parrow, her parent’s executrix.

“We were blown away with the response, and the love and support from the city has been so amazing, and this has been such a challenge for our family,” said Timmer-Parrow.

She and her siblings agreed to sell the entire operation, which included the building and business, to a well-known but currently anonymous Detroit business person.

“We were looking for someone that understood the magic and what made Dutch Girl special, and that was not only understood but felt that it was viable enough to take it forward,” Timmer-Parrow said.

More importantly, the family wanted to remain part of their mom and dad’s legacy, so their son Jon Timmer, the last person to make Dutch Girl Donuts, will hire on as the cook.

“Everybody knows grandma can write down the cake recipe, but you need grandma to make that cake special, right,” Timmer-Parrow said. “So, that’s what John has, and he’s been given the opportunity to continue his craft. I can’t tell you how blessed we feel that we have found the right person to pass this baton.”

So the family admitted the place needed some tender love and care, and they’re going to rebuild the place and make it the Detroit destination it’s been since 1947.

The donut shot is expected to reopen in late summer or early fall.

About the Authors:

Rod Meloni is an Emmy Award-winning Business Editor on Local 4 News and a Certified Financial Planner™ Professional.

Brandon Carr is a digital content producer for ClickOnDetroit and has been with WDIV Local 4 since November 2021. Brandon is the 2015 Solomon Kinloch Humanitarian award recipient for Community Service.