Freshly baked donuts. Wikimedia/Courtesy
Freshly baked donuts.

Hemmed in by fields, the small town of Som­erset Center, Michigan boasts a culinary treasure. Special Ed’s Donuts, parked close to the road, tempts passers-by to stop for a warm treat on a chilly autumn morning. Wafts of cin­namon greet cus­tomers as they cross a muddy parking lot to buy a freshly baked doughnut for $1. At first glance, what seems a simple school bus is actually a thriving family business.

Ed Kimble, retired football, baseball, and wrestling coach at Addison Com­munity Schools, bakes and sells doughnuts from the bus. Painted white, the bus has the slogan written across the side, “Forget the rest, come to the best!” Special Ed’s is indeed special, serving cus­tomers from out-of-state, as well as wel­coming Michigan natives who make the trip to the small town of Som­erset Center just to enjoy a doughnut, Kimble said.

“The only problems I’ve had is with people who thought I was making fun of others with the name,” said Kimble. “I would never try to offend anyone.”

Instead, Kimble named his business in a playful spirit of self-dep­re­cation.

“People who know me will tell you, ‘Oh, Ed’s a special guy,’” he said.

Kimble began making doughnuts in a spirit of hos­pi­tality, buying a small doughnut machine on a whim and giving doughnuts away to friends and stu­dents. He often made doughnuts for the football team he coached and handed them out with chocolate milk.

“My first year as head football coach at Addison, his son was a senior on my team,” Josh Lin­deman, head coach of football at Addison com­munity schools, said in an email. “His son fre­quently brought in doughnuts for the team.”

Soon, Kimble saw a business oppor­tunity. With encour­agement from his wife, he began to search for a food trailer. Instead, he found a bus, parking it on a lot in Som­erset Center, and there it has stayed. Three years later, the business is small but suc­cessful, one that Kimble did not intend to make a living from. With three sons in college, he said that it helps with spending money, and gives his children a job over the summer.

“It’s just some­thing for us to do,” Kimble said.

Kimble does not appear con­cerned about profit, and says that he often gives away more than he makes from the business.

The res­i­dents there say they remember his kindness. His daughter, who plays vol­leyball at her high­school, reg­u­larly takes 2 dozen to share with her team­mates.

Serving quality hot pas­tries to the local com­munity for a low price and good service, Special Ed’s Donuts is a thriving business, even on a quiet street in Som­erset Center, Michigan.