A south Forsyth shop has been named one of five top small businesses in the country by American Express.
Dutch Monkey Doughnuts, a specialty doughnut and pastry shop on Hwy. 141 near The Avenue Forsyth, was named a top 10 finalist a few weeks ago in the credit card company’s Big Break Competition.
Owner Arpana Satyu said she was “just thrilled” to learn they had received about 5,000 votes, good enough for fifth place.
“We were like, ‘Fifth place, that makes us in, right?’” she said. “We were actually in the process of walking our dog and we just started screaming.”
Dutch Monkey Doughnuts was one of about 12,000 businesses from around the country in the contest. Executives selected the shop among the 10 finalists. As a finalist, it had to garner as many votes as possible in online balloting.
By virtue of its fifth-place finish, the store will receive $25,000. Satyu said the prize package also includes an all-day “strategy session” with the shop with American Express and social media executives on Oct. 1.
“Then on Oct. 2, we’re giving them a list of small businesses in our area that we’re close to and they’re going to pick from that list and probably some of their [cardholders] who maybe applied to the contest and they’re going to have an event that evening,” she said.
“They’re also doing a statement credit thing the week of Sept. 29 through Oct. 7. That’s for anybody who has an American Express card who registers it with them and shops any small business in Cumming that week, they can get a $20 credit.”
Satyu said she’s probably most excited about the community events.
“I think because Cumming seems to be a place where everyone comes from somewhere else, because it’s grown so quickly, it’s neat that this is pulling us into a community atmosphere,” she said.
As for the $25,000, Satyu said that money will be used to help expand Dutch Monkey’s production capacity.
“We’re going to be getting some new equipment, a new mixer and some screens and racks,” she said. “We’ve had to turn down a lot of larger orders because we don’t have the capacity to produce them.
“It’s a lot of church orders and business meetings, where they ask for hundreds of doughnuts, that we’ve had to turn down because we just don’t have the space to provide that. So hopefully within the next couple of months we’ll be able to get up to that capacity.”
She thanked the bakery’s customers and online supporters for their help in the win.
“We’re so grateful that everybody voted and shared,” she said. “Being in a small town, we didn’t think we had that much of a chance. And I think our customers and our fans and friends and the other small businesses in the area … really made it happen.”