Sweetwater’s creates special donuts honoring ESPN College GameDay hosts

Posted at 7:27 PM, Nov 16, 2016

KALAMAZOO, Mich. — There’s one for Corso and Kirk on the rack. Samantha Ponder and the Bear, they’ve got a few donuts too at Sweetwater’s.

“Desmond Howard won the Heisman Trophy at Michigan, so he got the wolverine donut,” said General Manager Tricia Garner during an interview at the bakery. “Then Rece Davis, his name sounds just like Reese’s so we renamed our Reese’s after him.”

As soon as Sweetwater’s Donut Mill found out that ESPN’s College GameDay was coming to Western Michigan to preview the undefeated Broncos match-up against Buffalo, they knew they had to do something to celebrate. They got together, Garner said, and thought of ways to honor the event.

“We said lets make a special donut for each of the hosts of GameDay,” said Garner. “So that’s what we did. We started brainstorming what would be a great special donut for each of them.”

They created donuts based on the hosts personality, nickname or alma mater. Lee Corso’s donuts are named the OJ Blast because of his Florida roots. 'The Bear' Chris Facilla's Golden Crisp donuts are honey flavored.

“David Pollack, he played football in Georgia," said Garner.  "So he got the peach donut, which is peach-filled with peach tops.”

For Samantha Ponder, they created hers with tons of strawberries. Garner said they want customers to "ponder" how many strawberries it took to create just one. So far, they’ve been flying off the oven racks.

“Oh the donuts are wonderful,” said clerk and baker Charles Slater. “I love the donuts. I’ve worked here for almost two years and I still eat the donuts. Almost everyday, you know, besides the Buckeye donuts.”

The Buckeye, in honor of Kirk Herbstriet’s alma mater Ohio State, has been slow to sell Garner said. The college football fan base in Kalamazoo leans more towards Michigan and Western. Nonetheless, the donuts have created a buzz around town, people buying them along with their traditional treats.

“The bakers are having fun with the recipes,” Garner said. “Our decorators are having so much fun. They get to work with the candies. I had to buy a few extra because we had to taste test some of those.”

Garner said they’ll continue to make them throughout the week. They even plan to sell them at Friday night’s pep rally in Bronson Park, along with coffee mugs and T-shirts. She said a lot of the success of the donuts stems from the Broncos 10-0 season.

“Western has played great and they deserve the recognition,” said Garner. “We’re so proud of ‘em and getting this national recognition is a really big deal and they really deserve it."