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Originally published February 1, 2008 at 12:00 AM | Page modified February 1, 2008 at 1:21 AM

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Top Pot goodies are going national

Business has been sweet for Top Pot Doughnuts in Seattle, a small chain that caught Starbucks Chairman Howard Schultz's attention shortly...

Seattle Times business reporter

Business has been sweet for Top Pot Doughnuts in Seattle, a small chain that caught Starbucks Chairman Howard Schultz's attention shortly after it opened in 2002.

Top Pot sells doughnuts in about 5,000 Starbucks in 25 states, including the West Coast and New England.

On April 8, it will launch in the other 25 states, said Mark Klebeck, who founded Top Pot with his brother, Michael, and Joel Radin.

The doughnuts are sold mostly at Starbucks' company-owned stores, which number more than 7,000 nationwide.

"They've been a great partner, and they get behind the doughnuts," Klebeck said.

Top Pot's name appears in Starbucks' pastry cases, and its executives meet with Starbucks' in-store employees to teach them about the brand.

The company even passes out little booklets that tell the Top Pot story, including how its name was going to be "Top Spot" before the "S" blew off an old Chinese restaurant sign that they were carting to their first shop on Capitol Hill.

"We're as passionate about our doughnuts as Starbucks is about their coffee," Klebeck said. He would not reveal sales figures.

The doughnut chain has three stores in Seattle and plans to open another next month at 325 W. Galer St. on Queen Anne. A fifth shop is scheduled for Washington Square in Bellevue in summer.

Someday Klebeck hopes Top Pot will "have a flagship store presence in different cosmopolitan cities across the country and abroad."

For now, Top Pot sells three of its most popular doughnuts at Starbucks: its signature apple fritter, an old-fashioned glazed doughnut and a chocolate glazed old-fashioned doughnut. In April, it will add a vanilla caramel doughnut.

Top Pot has about 100 employees. It makes doughnuts at its retail stores in Seattle and oversees the making of doughnuts at about eight bakeries for Starbucks. Two or three bakeries will be added when it expands this spring, Klebeck said.

Melissa Allison: 206-464-3312 or mallison@seattletimes.com

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

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