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Doughnut shop kneads votes
Business a finalist in national competition
Donut WEB 1
Arpana Satyu, owner of Dutch Monkey Doughnuts, puts out a new batch of breakfast goodies. - photo by Jim Dean

Supporters can vote for Dutch Monkey Doughnuts daily on the contest Facebook page

A south Forsyth business has a chance to win $25,000 and other prizes from American Express.

Dutch Monkey Doughnuts, a bakery that specializes in handcrafted doughnuts and other pastries, has been selected as a top-10 finalist in the American Express Big Break Competition.

The contest was open to small businesses across the country.

Arpana Satyu, who owns the shop on Hwy. 141, said about 12,000 businesses entered the contest.

“It involved writing an essay and sending in photos and things like that,” she said.

While she received notice about the contest from American Express, Satyu said she hadn’t planned on entering.

“I just didn’t think there was any possibility we would be chosen for it,” she said. “I thought, ‘It’s such a longshot why even bother.’”

But then, she received an e-mail about the contest from a customer.

“When she said something, I thought, ‘OK, we had better enter since a customer asked us to,’” she said.

“We just entered and didn’t think another thing about it until they called us, honestly.”

Satyu said executives combed through the 12,000 entries to narrow the field.

“They called us two or three weeks ago and said, ‘You’re in the semifinals,’ which meant the top 40,” she said. “And then about two days later, they called us back and said we made the top 10.”

Not long after, she got another call that a film crew would arrive to shoot a finalist video.

“They flew down from New York and sent a production crew in and they did a six-hour shoot for a 60-second video,” Satyu said. “That was a lot of fun.”

The finalist videos can be viewed online. The public has until Aug. 31 to vote for a favorite small business.

Satyu said the top five vote-getters will each win $25,000 for their business and a one-on-one marketing strategy session with American Express executives.

“And the new thing this year they’ve added is the community aspect of it,” Satyu said. “So, if we win, they will come here to Cumming and host an event for small business owners in our area.

“Then they would also hold a small business Saturday-type promotion, where they would offer statement credits to customers who shop at small businesses in the Cumming area, so that’s really cool.”

Satyu said she would love to win, not only for Dutch Monkey Doughnuts but also for the community.

“We’re trying to get people to vote early and vote often, that kind of thing,” she said.

“There are five winners out of the top 10, so we don’t even have to be the top one, so hopefully that will work out. We’re really interested in getting the community meetings here.

“We’re the only [finalist] that is in a really small town … there’s one in Los Angeles, one in Boston, there are two in New York, there’s one in New Orleans and one in Raleigh, so we are the only one in a really small town so we’re really excited.”