By Dennis Seid
TUPELO – At the biannual Tupelo Furniture Market, long-time attendees have come to expect the free shuttles, breakfasts, entertainment, buffets and other amenities.
But there’s another perk exhibitors get that’s even sweeter: doughnuts.
Not just any doughnut, but glazed, sugary, melt-in-your-mouth doughnuts from Shipley’s Do-nuts in Tupelo.
It’s a tradition dating back to the early days of the market. R.W. “Hoppy” Whitaker has been buying boxes of doughnuts at every fall and spring market since opening his furniture supply business 25 years ago.
“It’s just our way of saying thank you,” he said in an earlier interview.
And so, every Thursday of every market, crews at Shipley’s begin making the donuts in the early morning at the store on Cliff Gookin Boulevard. The market then picks them up around 6 a.m. and delivers them to the showrooms.
For Shipley’s co-owner Scarlett Wilson, adding another order of 100 dozen doughnuts on top of the 2,000 to 4,000 doughnuts her store makes daily is no small feat. Work begins at 2 a.m. Doughnuts also are delivered from Wilson’s other store on South Gloster Street.
But Whitaker’s order is just one of many additional ones during the week.
“We see a pickup in business from the people attending the market, too,” she said. “The glazed are the most popular, then it’s the chocolate, followed by the blueberry cake.”
Inside each box of doughnuts bought by Whitaker is a note from him.
“It’s a happy from Hoppy,” Wilson said with a laugh. “He’s been doing it every year, as long as we’ve been around.”
For the calorie-counters, each plain glazed doughnut contains 217 calories. That means 260,400 calories are being delivered for free this morning, if anybody’s counting.