The feeling of Valentine’s Day arrived early at Mad Dough, Mandy Madsen’s new doughnut shop that opened Feb. 2 within Parker Yates’ record shop, peasantries + pleasantries.
Heart garlands descended from the ceiling in the establishment at 807 S. 800 East in Salt Lake City, and Elton John’s ballad “Your Song” played through the place.
“We wanted to put on a playlist with a bunch of love songs,” Yates said. Coincidentally, it’s the same playlist — called “101 Ways to Say ‘I Love You’” — he was making for Madsen’s birthday.
Madsen and Yates aren’t just business partners — they’ve been dating since last September.
Yates met Madsen at Central 9th Marketplace, a business opened by his friends. She was selling her doughnuts there. Yates originally went in to get a sandwich, but his friends kept pestering him to try the doughnuts.
“I wasn’t really like, necessarily, a big sweets guy,” he admitted. “But [they’re] not overly sweet.”
After the first visit, Madsen said, “he would just come in all the time and buy doughnuts.”
Yates encouraged her to come check out his record shop, which she did — and, not long after, he set up her own record bin, and she chooses all the albums in it.
They became friends, and eventually started dating.
A friend joked that they were a perfect fit, much like their individual ventures. “Records and doughnuts — that’s so Portland of you guys,” they recall the friend saying. It got them Madsen and Yates thinking about joining the two businesses into one space.
The record store, peasantries + pleasantries, is about a block away from the bustling 9th and 9th area. The shop is located on the upper floor of Yates’ home. Originally, he started across the street in the middle unit of a triplex.
“It just became too cumbersome to carry in bins and records in and out all the time,” Yates explains. One day, he was driving past the area and noticed construction. Before he knew it, he was signing a lease. He planned to open something bigger down the line, but the opportunity fell into his lap and he took advantage.
Yates buys his record stock from a combination of distributors and private sellers, and describes his buying tastes as “uncommon sounds, stuff off the beaten path from a lot of conventional stuff.”
The larger wall in the shop is Yates’ own personal collection. “I’ve sold my collection two other times, and just kind of got over the idea of selling it for so cheap to other people. And so I just kind of started privately selling them. When I get sick of a record, or it just doesn’t hit as much anymore, I just put a price on it and put it out on the shelf.”
Yates and Madsen each started their current ventures during the pandemic — though Madsen said she wanted to start earlier.
She started selling doughnuts at a farmer’s market, pre-pandemic, while trying to figure out when to quit her job. When she lost it, she decided to get started by delivering to people’s houses, taking payments by Venmo.
Right now, Madsen has four doughnut flavors: Lemon chamomile, Boston Cream, strawberry party ring and cinnamon rolls. She also served “Mandy’s Famous Chicken Sandwich” on the day of the grand opening.
Madsen said she loves taking her time to perfect a recipe, experimenting as she goes.
“I try to do new [recipes] every week. I have some that are popular now, because it’s been a little over a year, that I go back to. Then I like to add more things, like I just added the cinnamon roll, and then I can take time to perfect it.”
Madsen bakes out of a commissary kitchen, and then she and Yates transfer the doughnuts to their shop.
Their businesses’ neighbors include a vintage clothing shop, a bridal shop and an optical store. Yates said they call it “9th Heights,” and joked that “life is a little more elevated here on 8th and 8th.”
With the grand opening under their belts, Madsen and Yates said they hope they can expand to a bigger space soon.