ANNA MARIA ISLAND, Fla. – A former police officer from Pennsylvania recently decided to get away from it all and move to Florida to open – what else – a doughnut shop.
Shawn Wampole used to wear a badge and carry a gun. "I was a police officer outside Philadelphia in Springfield, Montgomery County for seven years." Now he wears an apron and carries a spatula.
He and his wife recently opened Anna Maria Donuts on Anna Maria Island. "We came here on vacation and saw there wasn't a doughnut shop, and started looking into it a little bit, and decided to take the plunge and come down here and open one up," says Shawn.
You know what they say about cops and doughnuts…did the love of doughnuts lure Wampole away from his job as a cop? Definitely not, he says. In fact, he doesn't even eat sweets. Something much more important made him hang up his gun. "Better quality of family life; I got tired of working nights and of not seeing my kids all the time. And we really did this for a better qualify of family life and more time together as a family."
And he loves his new job. "I call it ‘I'm the bartender of the morning.’ People tell me their problems, what's going on, and it's great getting to talk to people and interact. It’s a lot of fun."
And his shop has a special twist: it's the only place on the island you can make your own donuts, with four flavors of icing and 14 different toppings to choose from.
"We had one chocolate, and the other caramel with granola, and they were both really, really good," says customer Kotie Rinehart. She and her grandparents are visiting from Ohio, and they say the new doughnut shop is the talk of the town in Anna Maria. "Someone said to stop by and get a doughnut and it was very good."
Other customers learned about the new shop from their kids. "My little girl had been telling me about it ever since I arrived, and this morning we decide we'd better come to the doughnut shop. So the word is out among the kids,” says Tony Palamar, visiting from Canada.
It's also all the buzz among locals. "It's the talk of the town right now, and that's why we had to come and try it out again, and again and again," says resident Christy Gonzalez.
The new shop opened around the same time as the Sandy Hook massacre. And some say they find healing refuge there from all that horror. The delicious doughnuts, and peaceful and friendly atmosphere is a welcome relief.
Anna Maria Donuts is located at 210 C. Pine Avenue in Anna Maria. They are open from 7am-1pm every day.