Unusual retail spaces – part two: Donut shop inside a car wash

26th January 2015

Continuing our look at unusual retail spaces across the globe this week, after our recent post about a clothes shop in a swimming pool in Tokyo, now we travel across the pond to New York City to check out this donut shop that is right inside a car wash – a very novel combination of two classic pieces of Americana – but does it work?

Underwest Donuts in NYC

It’s probably a given in the retail industry that you can’t go too far wrong with a donut shop. As long as your products are fresh and tasty, people will always want donuts and coffee. So what on earth possessed start-up cake enthusiast Scott Levine to open his store right inside a car wash?

Donuts from Underwest

Scott ditched his job as a sous chef to start the new venture, Underwest Donuts, inside the Westside Highway Car Wash on the corner of 46thth Street and the West Side Highway in Manhattan. Here, in NYC, where retail estate is at a premium and you can find donuts and coffee on practically every street corner, the key to Levine’s apparent success is the quality of his products and the novelty of his location.

Inside the donut shop

The donuts are ‘gourmet’, made fresh daily inside the car wash and each one takes about 2 minutes to make. Whilst waiting customers can gawp through the windows at the interior of the car wash and the cars being cleaned, so the time passes quickly and cheerfully and nearly everyone comes back for another bite.

The store inside the car wash

In addition to the exciting venue, the proof of this business pudding really is in the eating, with enticing flavour combinations at Underwest including Coco Raspberry, Cinnamon, Espresso Bean, Dark Chocolate and Coconut lime – combined with a little theatre as Levine creates them in front of your eyes, showcasing the skills he learned whilst working in a gourmet ice-cream bar…

Like the store in our previous post, for this business venture it’s the retail space that really makes the business – and it would be great if it caught on in the UK, where we would be finding any excuse to take the car for a wash to check out some of those delicious-sounding donut varieties.


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