Skip to content

Donut Mill celebrates 30th anniversary

Michelle and Parry Dyck, owners of The Donut Mill in Red Deer County’s Gasoline Alley, celebrated their business’ 30-year anniversary on Friday. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)

The Donut Mill has been an iconic stop for hungry Albertans passing through the Red Deer area for three decades.

The 30-year anniversary of the Gasoline Alley restaurant and bakery was celebrated on Friday. The business has been owned and operated by Michelle and Parry Dyck since 1994.

“It seems like just yesterday we opened,” Michelle said, adding the community support they’ve received while celebrating the milestone has been overwhelming.

Parry said reaching 30 years wouldn’t have been possible with past and present staff, family and the community.

Michelle’s father, Glenn Simon, opened Glenn’s Family Restaurant in 1986, right beside the future location of the Donut Mill, which was being used as a parking lot for trucks at the time.

“His independent business … was struggling to get seen and known. He figured if you build something noticeable, people will come,” said Michelle.

“He noticed ferris wheels at fairs and realized they always draw your eye. He came up with the idea to build something iconic.”

Customers at Glenn’s would frequently ask for donuts and pastries, and for a time, they were offered at the front of the restaurant. But eventually, a decision was made to open up a donut shop next to Glenn’s with a giant eye-catching windmill.

The Dycks jumped at the opportunity to operate the business.

“Michelle had been in the restaurant business her whole life,” said Parry.

Michelle added: “Parry and his dad ran a chicken farm just before the Donut Mill, so business has always been in his blood. Everything went together well.”

Learning to make donuts was one of the first challenges the two faced together as owners of the business.

“We didn’t actually know how to make donuts at the beginning,” Michelle recalled.

“We did a few experiments with the fryer at my dad’s place and then we went to Saskatoon to learn how to make them. With help from our staff, we got there through trial and error.”

The Gasoline Alley area has grown exponentially throughout the Donut Mill’s existence, Parry noted.

“Ever since Costco opened, it just sort of boomed out here. It’s drawn a lot more business,” he said.

“We didn’t have this back service road when we first started, we only had a little gravel road in the front. Things have changed a lot.”

To celebrate 30 years in business, the Donut Mill has been offering four original options all month: apple fritters, cruellers, sour cream glazed and strawberry bismark.

For more information on the restaurant and bakery, visit

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Sean McIntosh

About the Author: Sean McIntosh

Sean joined the Red Deer Advocate team in the summer of 2017. Originally from Ontario, he worked in a small town of 2,000 in Saskatchewan for seven months before coming to Central Alberta.
Read more