Employees find their ‘fun job’ at Flyboy

This piece is presented by Flyboy Donuts.

Sometimes, a second job can become a chance to experience a change of pace while earning some “fun money.”

That’s the case for professional magician Travis Nye and oncology nurse Maria Hofer. Both are part of a staff of 20 at Flyboy Donuts.

“When Travis and Mariah came to me, during our interviews I realized their diverse backgrounds were potentially an asset to the company,” owner Ben Duenwald said.

“I think a lot of our customers also appreciate it when people who provide a service actually have a great personality and can hold an intelligent conversation rather than the typical ‘have a nice day’ cliche language that is all to familiar in quick-service restaurants.”

For Hofer, Flyboy provides a dramatic shift from her career as an oncology nurse at Sanford Health.

“I love my job there, but it can be emotionally taxing,” she said.

A Yankton native, she graduated from SDSU with a nursing degree three years ago and worked as a nurse in Yankton before moving to Sioux Falls this year. She’s on rotating shifts at Sanford that include days, nights, weekends and holidays. She started at Flyboy part-time in August.

“When I interviewed here, Ben said, ‘Can you handle crazy hours?’ I said, ‘I don’t know anything else.’ ”

Flyboy gives her the scheduling flexibility she needs and provides her with what she considers a creative outlet.

She typically works one shift a week behind the counter at Flyboy, helping customers pick out one doughnut or dozens, making recommendations – her favorite is a raised glazed doughnut that’s frosted with chocolate icing — and rearranging the cases as they empty out.

“It’s just such a different feeling here,” she said. “Right now, in this season of my life, Flyboy has definitely been a blessing.”

Nye joined the Flyboy team in June.

Working early morning hours during the week gives him the flexibility he needs for his Magic of Travis Nye performances and community education classes.

“On average, I do two shows a week, but it’s nonstop because I need to keep developing my show,” he said.

Nye was in his early teens when he became fascinated by the magic acts on “The World’s Greatest Magic,” a series of TV specials in the 1990s that featured illusions such as making a space shuttle disappear.

“I wanted to re-create that experience, that wonder of not knowing how it happened, for as many people as I could.”

He tortured family and friends through several “terrible” tricks that he taught himself but finally wowed them with an illusion he learned from a Russian exchange student. He practiced his craft for eight years and became a professional magician seven years ago.

When Nye stopped at the bakery earlier this year to try his first Flyboy doughnut, Duenwald recognized him from a magic show. They chatted, and the owner offered him a job, knowing he would bring an engaging personality and a focus on pleasing customers.

Nye enjoys helping customers select the perfect doughnuts for the occasion, whether it’s morning treats for the office or a way to celebrate a birthday or a baby.

“That’s always fun, talking to the customers and finding out what their needs are, letting them know what we can do for them.”

He started behind the front counter and began creating videos for the shop’s Facebook page, often including a magic trick. After that, it was “just learning everything, the ins and outs of what it takes to make it all happen.”

At the end of June, Flyboy added a trailer to serve doughnuts and coffee at events and businesses across town, and that became Nye’s focus. He enjoyed introducing the store’s doughnuts to people who had never tried them.

Along the way, he has sampled all of the varieties because, of course, “you have to know what the customer wants and be able to describe it to them.” And who can turn down a fresh doughnut? “That’s the curse,” he joked. Pressed for a favorite, however, he said it’s probably a long john covered in frosting and crushed Oreos.

Recently, Duenwald and Nye combined the best of the doughnut and magic worlds with One Sweet Magical Show.

Private parties can rent the Flyboy space for two hours between 2 and 7 p.m. any day of the week. The guests get a 30-minute magic show, prizes and doughnuts. For an extra free, they can decorate their own treats.

Working in a doughnut shop wasn’t something Nye sought out, but he said it has turned out to be a perfect fit.

For others in similar situations, Flyboy also could be a match, Duenwald said.

“If we have a good candidate that brings a lot to the table and also has a desire to be with our company for the long term, we accommodate as needed to fit their other profession or family life,” he said.

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Employees find their ‘fun job’ at Flyboy

Sometimes, a second job can become a chance to experience a change of pace while earning some “fun money.”

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