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Published September 1st, 2021
Johnny's Donuts extended hours delight community
Johnny's Donuts owner Kim Soeung with her biggest fan, Tycho Nicosia, sampling a late afternoon donut hole. Photo Sora O'Doherty

Cambodian immigrant Kim Soeung has made area residents very happy by extending the hours of the popular donut shop, Johnny's in Lafayette. When she acquired the shop at the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020, she extended the hours from a 2 p.m. closing to a 5:30 p.m. closing time, and recently added Sunday hours from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Soeung grew up in Cambodia, and entered into an arranged marriage in 1997 when she was 19 years old that brought her to California in 1998. She has a full-time job in the medical device industry, which she keeps even now. She set aside her dreams of obtaining a college degree in engineering when told that her oldest daughter needed help with her schoolwork. Soeung has three daughters. The eldest has just graduated from UC Irvine, the middle girl is in college now, and her youngest daughter attends Stanley Middle School. The family recently moved to Lafayette, close to the shop.
When Soeung was living in San Jose, she decided that she wanted to become a donut shop owner. She got a job working in a donut shop to learn the trade, before buying her first shop in San Jose, Manley's Donuts. Like Johnny's Donuts, Manley's was an independently owned shop, not a franchise. Soeung has a large family, and she has gradually brought them all to California from Cambodia to work in her donut shops. Only her sister remains in Cambodia, caught by the pandemic, but hopes to join the rest of the family. Two years ago she brought her brother and sister-in-in law and 11 other family members to California to work with her. Her brother is the baker in Lafayette and bakes the donuts every night. Soeung stresses that the shop only sells freshly made donuts. If any are left over, she donates them to the homeless.
Opening at the beginning of the pandemic, Soeung was able to keep her shop open as an essential business. Johnny's is now open for take-out or dine in. Soeung says that she really, really appreciates the local support that she receives. She has customers from Lamorinda and Walnut Creek, as well as from places like Danville and Vallejo. "I have really warm feelings for the community," she says, adding that everyone is really nice to them.
Currently the shop offers a wide variety of donuts and beverages. Soeung has aspirations to add croissant breakfast sandwiches with ham and cheese, and house-baked, New-York-style boiled bagels, as are offered by Manley Donuts in San Jose. She would also like to expand her range of beverages to include healthy fruit smoothies and espresso drinks.
Moraga resident Tycho Nicosia, 11, loves the shop. "The donuts are great, and they have soda!" he says.

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