PELLA — Rob’s Mini Donuts has rolled into the Pella community.
Owner Rob Sales, a senior at the University of Northern Iowa, sells decadently warm mini donuts coated in sugar from his food truck at events, fairs and festivals throughout the state. He can also be seen during volleyball, football and basketball games at the UNI-DOME in Cedar Falls.
Sales began his journey in the food truck industry through UNI’s entrepreneurial program during his sophomore year. Prior to UNI, Sales worked in the catering department at Central College.
“Around my sophomore year, I got to the point where I felt I was ready to start a business,” says Sales. “It wasn’t until my advisor said, ‘you’ve been working restaurant jobs, you have a background in catering, what about food?’ So, we explored that idea.”
From there, Sales bought a food trailer with a built-in donut machine, and he saw it as a sign to give donuts a try. In April 2019, he sold the trailer and bought his current food truck, which he found on Facebook Marketplace. His first event was the Sturgis Falls Celebration in Cedar Falls.
“At Sturgis Falls, I made 26,000 donuts, or 2,400 orders,” says Sales.
Sales can make 100 dozen donuts an hour, or about two dozen per minute. He typically caters at eight events during the summer and then transitions to fall/winter sports at the UNI-DOME.
So far, Sales has sold his donuts at Pella’s Fourth of July celebration and Thursdays in Pella events. He also gets help from college roommates and friends, especially during the fall/winter months at the UNI-Dome.
Sales plans to continue his food truck business full time after graduating this winter, and he would eventually like to expand. He would also like to experiment with other foods, particularly kabobs.
“I’ve always loved food and being surrounded by food,” says Sales.