Strite’s Donuts comes to New Market

Frank Emswiler fills a box of a donuts at the Strite's truck in New Market. Photo by Henry Culvyhouse

NEW MARKET — Sitting in a trailer at the Liberty gas station parking lot off Route 211, Frank Emswiler smiles warmly when a customer walks up to the window.

“I’ll take a half a dozen doughnuts,” the customer says. “Two Bavarian crème, two glazed and two blueberry.”

Emswiler slips on his plastic glove and shoves the doughnut in a paper bag.

“That will be six bucks,” Emswiler says.

A year and a half ago, Emswiler would not even imagine he would be operating a Strite’s Donuts trailer. Emswiler was a truck driver, delivering gasoline to local stations when he came across Carl Strite selling his doughnuts.

“We got to talking and next thing I know, we’re business partners,” Emswiler recalled.

Emswiler said he had worked as a truck driver since he was 18. With a family now, Emswiler decided he needed a career change.

“Spending all that time on the road, I wasn’t around for my wife and the kiddos,” Emswiler said. “I just wanted something that could keep me around for them.”

Strite’s Donuts has served the Shenandoah Valley since 2004, with locations in Staunton, Harrisonburg, Winchester, Woodstock and Strasburg, to name a few. On Dec. 11, Emswiler brought the doughnut truck to New Market.

“I decided to bring it out here because I live in Mount Jackson, so it’s pretty close,” Emswiler said. “I get to sleep in a little bit.”

Emswiler said he usually wakes up between 2 a.m. and 3 a.m., depending on which location he is setting up at that day, in time to set up shop and serve customers by 6:45 a.m. He said he stays until he either runs out of doughnut or between 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.

“Morning shifts are generally our busiest,” Emswiler said. “But sometimes, like in Woodstock, when school lets out we get a rush between three to five.”

Emswiler said transitioning from driving trucks to serving doughnuts was pretty simple.

“It was easy for me,” Emswiler said. “I’ve been driving trucks for a long time … I worked with Carl for about two and a half to three months to learn the process. I didn’t just jump in here and started making donuts.”

Emswiler said his biggest selling doughnut are the glazed and the cinnamon sugar doughnut. He also sells seasonal doughnut, with a Christmas time doughnut that will be gingerbread flavored.

Emswiler said the relationships he has with businesses he parks in front of are “very good.”

“When we sit in Woodstock, the manager there says business is always up when we’re there,” Emswiler said. “The only problem we have is the people that let us sit here would like us to do it more often.”

Part of the arrangement, according to Emswiler, is while he sells doughnut, he does not sell coffee.

“People can buy their coffee from the business we’re parked at,” Emswiler said. “We sit here and sell doughnut, they can have all the coffee sales they want.”

Emswiler said the greatest part of his job is interacting with customers.

“When I was driving a truck, I didn’t talk to anybody all day long,” Emswiler said. “I like talking to people…. it’s fun interacting with customers.”

Strite’s Donuts can be found at the Woodstock Rite Aid on Mondays, at the Carl Frye’s in Winchester on Tuesdays, at the Strasburg Denny’s parking lot Wednesdays, at the Liberty station in New Market on Thursdays and back at Carl Frye’s on Fridays. Hours of operation are from 6:45 a.m. to 2 or 4 p.m.

Contact staff writer Henry Culvyhouse at 540-465-5137 ext. 184, or hculvyhouse@nvdaily.com