Business continues to hold steady in Old Worthington, and the city's downtown has attracted the first central Ohio location of a popular doughnut franchise.

James and Kathryn Welte are bringing Peace, Love and Little Donuts to Worthington as their first business venture, marking the first Columbus-area location for the company that has several locations in the Akron and Pittsburgh areas.

James Welte said he retired late last year from the Federal Aviation Administration after 30 years, when he was "kind of kicked out," and needed something to do with his time and something for his four children to do.

"It was too early for me to retire and I was thinking about a summer job for my girls," he said.

One day, Kathryn was in Kent and visited the doughnut shop, and the idea for two central Ohio locations and another in Cincinnati immediately took shape, Welte said.

He said he "started thinking about which communities I liked," and happened to see a for-lease sign at 656 High St., and realized Worthington would be "an awesome, safe community to start in."

"I went into each store and introduced myself and got to meet a lot of nice people," he said. "Everybody was excited, even the people from the bakery and the coffee shop. I assured them I wasn't there to take any of their business. ... My goal is to sell doughnuts."

The Worthington location of Peace, Love and Little Donuts will break from the tradition of most others. Welte said he didn't want to follow the idea of putting a location in a strip mall, and prefers the downtown location.

"I just feel like to make something last longer, I think you have to be in a town that will support that kind of company and business," he said. "I feel like Old Worthington just seems like it will be awesome."

The shop will focus on handmade doughnuts "with the craziest toppings."

"We want to make them on the spot and as fresh as we can," Welte said. "You basically just pick whatever toppings you want. We have everything from the most basic sugar all the way to deluxe with four or five toppings -- whatever you want."

Worthington Economic Development Manager David McCorkle takes the new addition as yet another indication of the health of Old Worthington.

"We're thrilled to have such a fun and energetic business join historic Worthington," he said. "Who doesn't love doughnuts?"

The Weltes are planning for a Memorial Day opening, but are being realistic about the possibility of a later date. They're in the process of finalizing designs, and already have a contractor ready.

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