The Voodoo Donut’s love affair with Denver will take it to another level – possibly as high as 35,000 feet cruising altitude – when the supplier of (mostly) ring-shaped goodies opens a location at Denver International Airport later this year.
Voodoo and its partners have had a DIA location in mind since at least the end of 2019. The COVID-19 pandemic delayed these plans but did not leave a permanent hole in them.
Work to review the design is currently underway, the partners say, and Mile High City will host the third voodoo shop on the Mile High City mezzanine in late fall.
“Voodoo digs Denver and Denver digs voodoo,” said CEO Chris Schultz of the high-profile, but still small, chain’s decision to open at DIA. “We don’t plan to visit other airports in the future. Denver just made sense. “
With offerings ranging from traditional cake donuts to creations like Voodoo doll bars filled with raspberry jelly, Voodoo’s confectionery was a cult sensation before the company ventured beyond its home state of Oregon.
When the brand branched out, the first place ever landed was Denver, opening in a former Rent-A Center on East Colfax Avenue in 2013. A second location in Denver on South Broadway followed in 2019.
As with its locations at Universal Orlando Resort in Florida and Universal CityWalk in Hollywood, California, Voodoo works with someone who has experience running businesses in unique environments – in this case one of the busiest international airports in the country, DIA store one Success.
Jen Winchester has signed a license agreement with the company to own and operate Voodoo Airport through her company, JAF Concessions. Winchester has been with DIA since 2009 and now operates or supports eight stores at the airport, including an Aksels clothing store that opened in Concourse B last week.
The future voodoo donut was previously a takeaway location for Winchester’s SkyMarket concept before they shut it down amid the pandemic. When the room reopens – near the airport’s upcoming Shake Shack and Snooze locations – it will be bathed in voodoo’s pink and black decorative motif and the smell of fried sugar.
“I’ve been a real fan of voodoo for a long time,” said Winchester. “I became a regular straight away just because it’s a fun concept, something to take to a birthday party or get together, and people just light up when they see those pink boxes.”
DENVER, CO – NOVEMBER 20: Travelers driving to gates on the main level of Concourse B of Denver International Airport in Denver, Colorado on Friday, November 20, 2020. (Photo by Hyoung Chang / The Denver Post)
She expects business travelers who frequently travel through DIA – her regulars – to develop strong connections with the brand as well. She said she already saw people bringing boxes from the company’s other stores through security to get them to their destinations.
The store, which is expected to be open daily from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. when it opens and will eventually be expanded to 24 hours, will create 70 jobs at the airport, according to partners.
Winchester looks forward to celebrating some good news after the pandemic has caused the most emotionally and financially stressful year of their lives. She said she only made it thanks to the dedication of staff in her airport operations.
“We did it and I see the future, the future of JAF and the future of Voodoo very positively, ”she said.