Familiar face says farewell for now

After 15 years of providing the city of Montrose with some of the best doughnuts around, Champion Donuts owner Jack Yit closed his doors last Friday.

Yit sold his business at 2043 Verdugo Blvd. to a company that plans to open a Korean tofu restaurant at that location, Yit told the Valley Sun last week.

But, before you start to worry that your craving for a morning glazed, chocolate iced, or cake doughnut will never again be adequately met, a short drive northwest up Foothill Boulevard and Yit's wife, Lory Yit can provide you with those same scrumptious calorie-laden carbohydrates.

Lory Yit is the owner of Donut Star, 3440 Foothill Blvd. Suite A, in La Crescenta, and her shop is open from 4:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from 4:30 a.m. to noon on Sundays.

The loss of Champion Donuts was a disappointment to many longtime customers, including Cecelia Sonsini, 49, Barbara Bettke, 42, both of Silver Lake. Sonsini and Bettke make the drive across town regularly to enjoy the fresh doughnuts and friendly faces at Champion Donuts. The duo arrived at Donut Star just too late in the day on Tuesday to purchase their favorite treat.

“I am really bummed out. I was craving a doughnut, and talking about it just makes it worse,” Sonsini said after seeing the locked doors at Donut Star when they arrived at about 3 p.m. on Tuesday. She and Bettke had just followed directions to Donut Star posted on the former Champion Donuts. Sonsini said the Yit doughnut stores provide the best doughnuts in town, second only to Bob's Donuts, a doughnut and coffee shop at the Los Angeles Farmer's Market on West Third Street.

Bettke also expressed disappointment that Champion Donuts has closed; however, the fact that Yit's wife's business is still providing the same kind of doughnuts is a relief, she said.

Bettke and Sonsini also were pleased to hear that Jack Yit plans to open another doughnut store in the La Cañada or La Crescenta area, once he finds an adequate location at a reasonable lease price.

Yit decided to sell his business because of rent increases at that location, which made it difficult to stay in business.

Yit opened Champion Donuts in 1993. “I really like the community and the people here. But, with the rents going up all the time I can't keep up with it. The rent is just too expensive,” he said, adding, “I feel very sad and will miss my customers.”

Yit said he worked 14-hour days at the business, but with the entire overhead, he was lucky to make the wages of “a busboy at Vons.”

When he was presented with an offer to sell the business, “I had to take it,” he said. “It's better than to leave for nothing, if I couldn't keep up with the rent.”

Yit, 58, moved to the United States in 1983. He came from Chinese Cambodia with his parents and got a job while attending school part-time to learn English. A friend of the family owned a similar business and taught him from the ground up, he said. “I learned how to serve the customers,” he said. “That's the most important part. Make the customers happy, then they love you and keep coming back because of the product and because they want to see you.”

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