Oregon State University's student-run lifestyle magazine

Beaver's Digest

Oregon State University's student-run lifestyle magazine

Beaver's Digest

Oregon State University's student-run lifestyle magazine

Beaver's Digest

Latest issue

How Benny’s Donuts rose to fame in Corvallis and beyond

Grace Johnson
Benny’s Donut worker making a donut in Corvallis on Oct. 9. Benny’s Donuts was started in 2015 by an Oregon State men’s rower, who then accelerated the business through the Advantage Accelerator program within Oregon State business.

What started as an idea and an old family recipe has become a Corvallis hot spot and Oregon franchise, all headed by a then Oregon State University student. 

Although Benny’s Donuts may sound like a tribute to OSU’s mascot Benny the Beaver, the business is actually named for its founder, Ben Augeri, who started the business while studying at OSU. 

In 2015 Augeri, at the time a geology and business student, noticed the then lack of donut shops in town and decided to start making some dough himself. 

“In 2015, we basically did two five month cohorts per year, these teams came from the community, came from students, came from researchers, but it was really about taking their ideas, which mostly these were concepts, and then trying to get them to a point where they were able to launch a company,” said Karl Mundorff, executive director of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Director of Advantage Accelerator. 

Although Augeri was unable to be reached by Beaver’s Digest, Mundorff was the co-director of the Accelerator Program at the time who Augeri came seeking support on about his donut delivery business. 

According to Mundorff, Augeri had planned to use an old family recipe for the basis of the donuts he would sell. Only to find out however, that the result was terrible. 

“He figured out that back then they were looking at the donut more as a nutritional meal, not necessarily as a treat,” Mundorff said. “So he had to modify the recipe to make it something that people think of as donuts here today…from the beginning (he) had thought about kind of upscaling the donut so that it would be customizable and had interesting toppings.” 

After some reconfiguration of the recipe, a best-seller was born.  In the early days, Augeri would open orders up at 3:00 p.m. and sell around 2,500 donuts within the next few hours. 

Using a local breakfast joint’s kitchen by night and a team of fellow college student delivery bicyclists, Benny’s Donuts was born. 

“We did order delivery donuts for a party one time… they just walked right in the back gate like I’d asked and everybody who was over just thought it was so much fun,” said Rae Sidlauskas, an early fan of Benny’s Donuts and counselor at OSU’s Counseling and Psychological Services. 

As the sweet treat’s popularity grew around town, Augeri explored options for a retail location. 

According to Mundorff, he even sat outside of the potential location and collected data for a week on how many people drove by to assess if the location had good enough traffic to support the business. 

Soon enough, 116 NW Third St became home to Benny’s Donuts and the business grew from there. 

Today, Benny’s serves coffee and gluten free versions of the donuts in made-to-order flavors such as chocolate peanut butter, lemon lavender with pepper and earl grey and vanilla. 

The gluten free options and variety of flavors is what has kept Sidlauskas coming back and even making Benny’s a family tradition. 

“I have a kid now, which I didn’t when they first started, and she loves them,” Sidlauskas said. “So we go and have like donut dates on the weekend sometimes, which is fun. I’m definitely the person at work most likely to bring in Benny’s.” 

Benny’s has now opened another location in Wilsonville and Benny himself has sold the business. 

Since Augeri’s use, OSU’s Accelerator’s format has changed to more of a tiered format to meet a business where they are in the process from OSU faculty, students and out-of-university community members. 

Mundorff says there are a multitude of resources at OSU that can help them along their entrepreneurial journeys. 

“If the students will reach out, and it doesn’t matter who they reach out to or how they reach out, we try to work as a network and find out where the student’s at and what they’re trying to achieve; and then plug them into the correct resource so that they can start their journey or continue their journey,” Mundorff said.  



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