(HARAHAN, La) — Even in the midst of a global pandemic, businesses continue to open, grow and thrive in Jefferson Parish with help from the Jefferson Parish Economic Development Commission (JEDCO). JEDCO joined Jefferson Parish leaders to celebrate the grand opening of a new specialty donut shop in the City of Harahan on Thursday. Little J’s Donuts utilized the JEDCO Growth Fund (JEDgrow) Loan Program to launch the small business earlier this year.
After working in the restaurant industry for over 25 years, founder Joshua Dean decided he wanted to go into business for himself. Joshua identified an ideal location in Harahan for the business and named the company after his three-year-old son, Jacen. Then, he connected with JEDCO. The organization financed nearly 90% of the $121,500 project cost, covering working capital, equipment and inventory, building improvements and startup costs. The JEDgrow Loan Program is specifically designed to support small, growing business in Jefferson Parish.
“I always knew that, one day, I would own my own shop, design my own donuts, and be my own boss, but I also knew that it would be an uphill battle,” Dean said. “I’m so glad that I met the people from JEDCO because they helped me in a way that nobody could have. When I was ready to make the jump and open my own place, even in the face of a pandemic, JEDCO was there with me every step of the way. I literally could not have done this without JEDCO’s help and I will forever be grateful for the help they gave me in getting the doors to Little J’s open this spring. Now, I’m a small business owner, making an impact on the economy in Harahan.”
Little J’s Donuts opened for business in April 2020, right in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite challenges facing small businesses across the US, Little J’s has received a warm welcome from the local community and a steady stream of customers from the time doors open until they close in the early afternoon hours. Employees fry up hundreds of fresh donuts daily to keep up with demand.
Little J’s tremendous success aligns with JEDCO’s mission to encourage residents to spend their dollars locally. The Spend Local JP initiative, developed in concert with Jefferson Parish and regional business organizations, was designed to educate the community on the benefits of spending their dollars with homegrown businesses.
“At a time when many of our small businesses are experiencing challenges, it is uplifting to celebrate this grand opening,” said JEDCO President & CEO Jerry Bologna. “We are proud to continue a long history of supporting small business development in Jefferson Parish through our financing programs. This project speaks volumes to the pro-business environment being fostered here as well as the spirit of togetherness found throughout this entire community.”
Little J’s Donuts serves coffee and a variety of donuts, breads and breakfast items, which can be picked up inside or at the drive-thru window. Dean hopes to extend hours to include lunch and dinner options as the business grows.The donut shop is located at 1301 Hickory Avenue, Suite A, in Harahan. It is open 6:00am-noon Tuesday through Thursday and 6:00am-1:00pm on Friday-Sunday.
Interested in learning more about the business? Listen to Joshua Dean’s interview on the Jefferson Parish Pulse podcast powered by JEDCO here.