Getting to know the people who make up Central Ohio's service industry

Hoping to leave a career in the corporate world behind, Traci Lukemire dreamed of opening her own made-to-order doughnut shop, but she needed a nudge. Then, she got invited to run in the Ragnar Relay, a 200-mile team event over two days. “I told my husband, ‘If I can do this race, I can do anything,’” she says. After finishing the race, she was ready. Donna’s Delicious Dozen, 5322 N. Hamilton Road, celebrated its first anniversary in June. Named after Lukemire’s grandmother, Donna’s specializes in vanilla cake doughnuts fried right in front of you and finished with a variety of toppings and drizzles. We asked Lukemire about her favorite food destinations and what she thinks the city needs. Like what you’re reading? Subscribe to our weekly newsletters.

First food memory: Lying on the kitchen floor and talking with my grandmother while she was cooking

Special occasion meal: Mitchell’s Ocean Club

Favorite comfort food: Soul food: baked mac ’n’ cheese, greens, sweet potatoes, fried fish and wings, barbecue ribs. Or Mexican! 

Go-to doughnut topping: Cream cheese icing

Food and drink travel destination: Negril, Jamaica. Can I please get some jerk chicken with red beans and rice?!

Advice for small business owners: Your dream was not built by others! People will think you are crazy. They will come and go, employees will quit, and you will be scared and often feel alone. But your dream is still there, built by you! Keep working!

Thing that Columbus needs more of: We are so fortunate to live in such a beautifully diverse city! With that being said, we could use more support for all of those who make up this amazing city. Especially small business owners from different ethnicities. Being a black, female small business owner is pretty rare, and I am super proud of the business I have built. But I could not have done it without the support I have received from all kinds of people in our community. An image keeps coming to my mind from the doughnut shop one day, pre-Covid. There were three couples with children sitting down having doughnuts and coffee. One family was black, one family was white, and one family was Asian. As they enjoyed their doughnuts, the children started playing together, and the families started talking and laughing. ... No one cared what the other looked like or what their views were, they were just people relating over life and doughnuts.