At the end of a long day, is there actually anything sweeter than a warm, hot donut to put a smile on your face?
That was the question Wendy Limbaugh asked herself when she re-opened Sugar Lips Mini Donuts in May 2021. Serving up fresh, steamy dough covered in cinnamon, sugar, and sweet drizzle, her mobile business is all about bringing a little extra joy to the Ridge community with every bite.
The inspiration came from a family vacation: “We saw a doughnut stand and had to try them! But when we saw how long the lines were, it hit me: ‘we need this for Paradise. There’s nothing like this here. It’s a happy, fun, positive business our community would love.’”
Limbaugh first opened Sugar Lips in October 2018 at the CMA Trunk or Treat event, just days before the fire. Her home and equipment were all lost, along with her dream job as a Perinatal Technician at The Birth Day Place of Feather River Hospital.
“After losing the job, I realized I wanted to fill a hole,” she said. She obtained another part-time job as an office nurse but knew she wanted to also do something to give back to the community in a special way.
And what’s more special than doughnuts?
Limbaugh hoped to reopen in early 2020, but the challenges of the pandemic made it a tricky time for food services to reopen. Several months later, she had to undergo major surgery that took her out of work for five months. But it didn’t keep her down long.
“Instead of feeling sorry for myself, I just took that time to get my business up and running. I obtained all my permits and got all my equipment.” This time around, she opted for the big kahuna of donut-makers, sourcing a machine that pumps out 1200 mini donuts per hour.
Party in the Park welcomed Sugar Lips Mini Donuts back to town as only Paradise can, serving up 12 mini donuts for $5, a price Limbaugh and her family feel makes them affordable and accessible. The current offerings are plain donuts with cinnamon sugar, powdered sugar, or a sweet drizzle, and they have big plans for future flavors.
With her donut expansion plans, she looks forward to serving donuts, along with coffee from a local company, at farmer’s markets, local events, birthday parties, weddings, football games, and anywhere a sweet treat is needed.
Limbaugh, a Paradise native with children who have all gone through the Paradise school system, is thrilled to be a part of helping bring more business to the Town. “I never really got to be part of the business community because I opened one month before the fire,” she realized. “I can’t wait to join the Chamber of commerce, meet new people, get more involved in community, and hopefully, make my mark in this little community with all my yummy donuts.”
For others with dreams like hers, Limbaugh is hopeful and encouraging. “If you have an idea for a business, go for it! It’s a town with endless opportunities. There’s room for every business, everybody.”