From the Air Force to allergy free doughnuts

A unique path which brought us Happy Dough.

Joel Hale had a clear life plan three years go and it was all about the Australian Air Force and fighter jets; all of which are a long way from the start of the allergy-free doughnut empire he nows finds himself driving.

In his bid to stand out from the crowded field of applicants for the Air Force, Joel took the advice of a mentor and started a side business delivering doughnuts, hoping to demonstrate initiative and drive to succeed.

He started selling allergy-friendly doughnuts free of gluten, dairy and soy – but without sacrificing taste – at a Saturday stall at Burleigh Markets. Demand continued to grow as Joel waited for the Air Force application process to play out.

Then came Covid and Joel’s plans took a hit as the process was delayed another full year, forcing him to evaluate what he wanted for his life.

“I had been growing my business and realised I was passionate about people, building relationships, and building a wonderful community through my business,” Joel explained.

“So I made the executive decision to no longer pursue becoming a pilot, but instead build and launch Australia’s tastiest gluten free, vegan friendly doughnut company – Happy Dough.”

When Happy Dough was looking for a brick and mortar location to open its first allergy friendly doughnut and shake store, Joel Hale and his co-owner and partner Tegan Lee Archer, hadn’t considered looking at Post Office Square in the CBD until they were offered a last minute trial.

“We never intended to establish ourselves in Post Office Square, but with the trial proving to be so successful, we went ahead and opened our store in October 2021 and now we never want to leave,” Joel said.

“It is such a great location in the city which gives us consistency [of foot traffic] with so many professionals located in such close proximity. We have very satisfied customers and we love that we are now feeding staff in offices all around us without anyone having to worry about allergens.”

Joel said the best seller for the store had proven to be the gluten free cinnamon doughnuts (admit it, you’re salivating now aren’t you?) with their largest order to date having been for 2,000 of them for an office function.

Joel said he hopes the Happy Dough store in Post Office Square will become a successful franchise spreading their tasty and allergen-free goodness across various locations. Joel and Teagan have now opened more stores Indooroopilly, Maroochydore and Tweed Heads.

“Joining Post Office Square is a big and exciting deal for us,” Joel added. “Because it was our very first store, we didn’t hold back on designs and we can’t wait to see how Brisbane reacts to our new business look and feel.

“We are also very excited about the changes coming to the new Post Office Square!”

As for the immediate future of the business, Joel said Happy Dough is excited about adding coffee to its range, hoping to sustain weary commuters on their way to and from Central Station to their offices for day.

He also hinted of “another cheeky little savoury option is on their way” for the store. Mmmm, wonder what that could be?

Happy Dough in Post Office Square is open between 6.30am and 6.30pm, Monday to Friday.