JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) – After the appearance of a sign in Johnson City that revealed the location of a new Auntie Ruth’s Doughnuts & Pretzels, business namesake Ruth Kauffman shared her plans for the much-anticipated store.

The Johnson City location was host to several local businesses before Auntie Ruth’s. (Photo/WJHL)

Kauffman is co-owner of the business with her husband Roman, and said that an opening date of early July would be ideal. The new Lyle Street location is set to offer indoor seating and specialty coffee for the first time, and Kauffman said she’s staffing the location with an experienced crew to ensure fast service.

“Parking could be an issue, however, we expect quite a bit of fast in and out where customers come pick up doughnuts to take to work and so on,” Kauffman said in a statement to News Channel 11. “We have some great cashiers on board who have had years of experience in our business. They will do all they can to ensure fast moving of the line, if there is one!”

Johnson City’s location will feature the same doughnut and pretzel offerings that fans can find in Limestone, and once things are settled they may even offer new menu items like cinnamon rolls and other items.

“Since the retiring of the food trucks [at] the end of last year, we have missed the limited customer interaction with the Limestone location being a walk-up window only,” Kauffman said. “Our customers have become our friends, and we are excited to give them the opportunity to come inside and chat.”

Kauffman said she and her team have received mixed feedback on their location choice, with parking and access cited as a common concern.

(Photo courtesy of Ruth Kauffman)

“Ideally, we could have built a shop exactly to our liking at the exact ‘perfect’ spot,” Kauffman said. “However, it would have been a long process. Will we do that in [the] future? Very possibly. The idea was to get something up and running faster.

“We signed a five-year lease. That should give us enough time to decide if we like the general area we are in, do we want to go build that ‘perfect’ donut shop with a drive-thru and all?”

Another sticking point for longtime customers was the Kauffmans’ decision to pull away from food truck offerings. Ruth told News Channel 11 that it wasn’t an easy decision, but it was the right one for the business.

“Roman & I are both not as young as we were 15 years ago, and easing up on the work part of it only makes sense,” Ruth said. “Once we opened the Limestone shop and felt the difference, it didn’t take us long to decide it’s time to retire the trucks and focus on brick and mortar. Having said all this, we don’t at all regret those 15 years of food trucking!

“It was a great 15 years, packed with good times that we wouldn’t trade for anything! Everything has its time and place, and this is one of them.”

(Photo courtesy of Ruth Kauffman)

The decision to set up shop in Johnson City was pragmatic and sentimental, and was done to provide access to all of the Tri-Cities.

“It’s more central to the locations we used to go to with our food trucks on a weekly basis,” Kauffman said. “And also closer to home for us [than] most of those places like Elizabethton, Kingsport, and Blountville. It also seems appropriate that Johnson City  becomes home to one of our shops since that’s really where this business venture all began in 2008.”

As the couple gears up for what’s sure to be a busy opening, the idea of expansion isn’t completely out of the picture. Requests for similar brick-and-mortar locations are always coming in from different communities, but the Kauffmans want a personal hand in each expansion.

“We are constantly bombarded with requests to come set up shops in surrounding cities,” Ruth said. “We do, however, protect our name quite jealously. In order to have our name attached to a product, we want to know it’s going to be nothing but the best.  As business owners, we see the importance of being present to ensure the quality of our product where we want it.”