Jason Bockman of Strange Donuts Buys World's Fair Donuts

click to enlarge Jason Bockman of Strange Donuts Buys World's Fair Donuts
Brittani Schlager

An iconic St. Louis business has been sold — but that's about all that's changing, says the new owner.

In a call with the Riverfront Times this afternoon, Strange Donuts owner Jason Bockman confirmed that he has purchased longtime local favorite World's Fair Donuts in Southwest Garden.

The shop has been shuttered in recent months due to health and personal reasons for former owners Peggy and Terry Clanton, who had operated the business at 1904 South Vandeventer Avenue since 1974. Bockman will not be changing the name of the shop or the menu, adding that he has purchased it under a separate LLC apart from Strange Donuts.

"It will be the same name and the same menu," Bockman says. "And don't expect to see marketing or Instagram posts from World's Fair: It’s $1 coffee and classic donuts at a classic donut shop."

Bockman says that before the purchase was finalized there was a possibility that the space would be sold and transitioned into a different business entirely — possibly a cellphone store — but that the Clantons wanted to keep the beloved spot alive, if possible.

"That’s what was happening; [Peggy] said it wouldn’t be World's Fair and it definitely would have changed," Bockman says. "It would be like if Ted Drewes was replaced by a Sprint store."

Bockman says he hopes to reopen the St. Louis institution in mid-January after completing some deferred maintenance. Bockman is working with the Clantons to staff the shop, too, hoping to find folks in the neighborhood to employ.

"I’ve cried a couple of times, honestly, thinking about it," Bockman says. "I feel so honored. This is crazy to me that the place … I lived on 39th Street for fifteen years. They’re legends to me; those people are the salt of the earth, good people, and it’s crazy to me that they could have gotten way more money from other people but they had trust in me to carry on World’s Fair as a brand, as a company, as a service to the community."

Follow Liz Miller on Twitter at @lizzaymillah. We are always hungry for tips and feedback. Email the author at [email protected].
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