CHESAPEAKE, Va. — The dream started when Mary Jane Hamblin was a teenager. "When I was 16, I worked at a donut shop, and the baker would always send these hot donut homes to my mom," she smiled.
That memory stuck with her through the years as Hamblin dreamed of opening a place of her own. Years down the road, now a mother herself, her children influenced her to follow the dream finally, "My kids were like, mom, you should open up a donut shop," she laughed as she looked around the building that now houses that dream.
Amazing Glazed, How Sweet They Are, the name stems from a familiar favorite. "As you can guess, Amazing Grace is my favorite church hymn. And my daughters' name is Amanda Grace," there's a theme for Hamblin. That theme is her faith. Inside the little donut shop in Chesapeake, you'll find hints of her faith sprinkled around. Signs that read, "A little bit of coffee, a whole lot of Jesus," "Trust the Lord with all your heart," and so many more. For Hamblin, faith is her foundation. That faith and trust in God led her to take a leap and open her dream shop.
Their donuts are made fresh every day, and Hamblin takes pride in that. "We like everything to be fresh. So even if someone comes to us and says I have a wedding, we're like what time to we need to deliver them [donuts] because we want to make them an hour before we deliver them," she nodded. These donuts are so fresh that you can stand in the shop and watch them be made from start to finish through a window, giving you a sweet treat with a show.
There's a clear winner when it comes to the most popular donuts. "Our maple bacon donut is the best; second is our original, which of course is strawberry icing with sprinkles because all the kids want one of those," but the flavors are endless; oreo, fruity pebbles, the list goes on.
Donuts aren't their only specialty. "I'm Italian, so I'm used to eating gelato, and like custard, and really good ice cream. And I was like, man, everyone here's eating frozen yogurt," so Hamblin knew she needed to add gelato to the menu. And as an Italian, she had to do it the right way, "Our ice cream is gelato made from scratch. A lot of our ingredients [are] imported from Italy," she said while pointing at the gelato menu. The menu is long, with classic flavors and twists like a bourbon pecan. You can get a cup of gelato on its own or get an ice cream sandwich or a donut sundae!
And you can't have a morning donut without a good cup of coffee! At Amazing Glazed, the Italian coffee is flowing. "People come in all of the time and say, 'I love your coffee. What is it about your coffee?' It is an imported Italian coffee bean, so we're really proud of our coffee bar," Hamblin said. They have coffee for anyone and everyone with many flavor options to choose from any time of the year, "You can come in here in the middle of summer and say I'm craving a pumpkin spice latte, and we'll make it for you," she laughed.
As you approach the coffee bar, there are options for the kids! "We also offer our milk in 20 different flavors. So kids can come in and say I want chocolate cookie dough milk, or I want blackberry milk," she smiled and continued to list three or four other flavors. As you're waiting for your order inside, you can peruse the wholesale side of the business too. There's a candy bar, other goodies, and treats that you can grab and go! Or, if you need the good stuff, there are decadent chocolates and chocolate-covered pretzels you can buy as well.
For Hamblin, the goal is not to make this place sweet for her but for others. "We know times are tough for families. But when a mom can come in here that has five children, and they can stand there and watch a donut and pick what they want on it, and I can see those five children be excited and her bill only be like eight dollars, and I can give them that joy with that little bit. That means a lot to me, and I think families need that," her eyes teared up as she looked at a family standing at the counter.
Hamblin knows that families need a safe place, and she's hoping she can offer just that. "I want people to come and sit, and I'm okay putting cartoons on in the afternoon for the kids, and I'm okay buying one donut because it makes it affordable to everybody," she smiled and clasped her hands in her lap.
Affordable and still so delicious. It could be a donut, gelato, coffee, milk, chocolate, or other goodies, or maybe you need to talk. Hamblin says she's here for that too, "I can encourage them to just have faith and that we can pray on it, and it'll be okay," she finished by saying, "And who doesn't smile in a donut shop, right?"
So, if you need a warm donut or a warm hug, or all of the goodies in between, travel down to Amazing Glazed, and you'll see firsthand how sweet they are in more ways than one.
Amazing Glazed: How Sweet They Are is located at 321 Johnstown Rd, Chesapeake, VA 23322.
Author's Note: The video below is on file from another story about a Virginia Beach donut shop. This aired on July 30, 2021.