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Spoon Csu-Assorted Doughnuts
Spoon Csu-Assorted Doughnuts
Brook Buchan / Spoon

Donut Food Truck Owned by Two Besties is One of the Best in the South

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Endicott chapter.

Six years ago, two best friends in Kentucky were selling donuts out of a tent trying to save up enough money to build a food truck. Their sprightly business is now hailed as one of the top food trucks in the South by Southern Living


Hi-Five Doughnuts is Louisville’s first female owned and operated donut food truck and storefront. Annie Harlow and Leslie Wilson have been serving their unique creations to Louisville’s streets and festivals out of their beloved decorative food truck, Shelby. 


The “Ladies of the Morning” – a nickname dedicated to their love of waking up at the crack of dawn – decided that Kentucky’s big-little city needed a funky, eccentric donut shop. Harlow and Wilson aspired to build a storefront that would make Louisville proud. Their development inside the Butcher Block development, located on 1011 E. Main Street in Butchertown, fulfilled their dream. 


Harlow and Wilson’s business has changed dramatically since they first launched their careers in the donut world. From starting out in a tent and cooking out of someone else’s kitchen for three years to opening up a storefront that people enjoy visiting, Hi-Five has grown significantly. Harlow and Wilson still use their food truck today so they can be mobile as well. 


“We’ve never paid for any kind of marketing,” said Harlow, “so any kind we’ve had has been through word of mouth, Instagram, or Facebook and we feel very blessed.” 


Hi-Five prides itself as being a friendly hands-on celebration of sweet indulgence and local pride. Unlike at many other donut shops, customers get to “Willy Wonka” their own treats by building their own creations with numerous glazes and toppings available. “Donuts make people happy,” Harlow said. “We enjoy creating sugary treats that make people happy.” 


Every donut Hi-Five sells is handmade and hand cut. Harlow, Wilson, and their small staff of employees prepare for each day by making the dough first so that it can be used the very next day. Then they must hand cut the donuts and air proof them in the refrigerator until they can be rolled out, fried, and ready to be sold. 


Hi-Five is known for their innovative and unprecedented donut selection, one of which is their Kentucky Fried Buttermilk Chicken Donut. Their Bourbon Caramel Glaze Bacon is their most popular donut according to their customers. The ‘Widough Maker’ is their most unique option, which is two donuts filled with farm fresh eggs and bacon topped with homemade sausage, gravy, cornflakes, and a grape drizzle.  


Harlow has observed over the years that Hi-Five’s popularity attracts a wide range of customers, from women in their early twenties to middle-aged moms that love to bring their children. 


Unlike most donut shops, Hi-Five primarily specializes in selling donuts and do not make anything else, such as cakes or pies. Harlow believes that this strategy is what makes Hi-Five different from their competitors. 


Even with other local and chain donut shops in the area, Harlow and Wilson do not have a hard time competing with other businesses. “I think there’s room for everybody,” said Harlow. “With Krispy Kreme, you know exactly what you are going to get. Our dough recipe is very different because we do not use a mix. Our dough is very dense, which helps us make large donuts. We set ourselves apart because of that.” 


Harlow and Wilson hope to open a second location within the next year. “We want to take over the world and be the Starbucks of donut shops,” Harlow said with a laugh. “We want to figure out a way to get ourselves out of the kitchen and to grow our business.” In an interview with Insider Louisville, Harlow exclaimed that “the future is so bright, I have to wear shades.” 

Meghann Haley

Endicott '22

I am a marketing communications major at Endicott College!