Forest Hill's Dewey Donut Co. supporting breast cancer awareness with 'pink ribbon' donuts

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Dewey Donut Co. manager Simmone Marsden takes the sheet of cake doughnuts, dips each one in pink icing, places a pink candy ribbon and covers them in pink and white sprinkles, creating a freshly-made batch of a half-dozen Pink Ribbon doughnuts.

The Forest Hill doughnut shop, which opened in June, is selling the specialty Pink Ribbon doughnuts in September to raise money for Susan G. Komen Maryland, helping that organization fund breast cancer research efforts and support services for patients and their families in Maryland.

The shop owners — Kristen Berset-Harris and her husband, Brent Harris, of Forest Hill and Ian Kendall, of Bowie — kicked off their fundraising drive with a Pink Ribbon Party Saturday morning.

“Raising awareness, for us, is the most important part of it,” Brent Harris, 46, said.

His wife, Berset-Harris, 37, has twice survived breast cancer, and she credits early detection for saving her both times — she was diagnosed the first time in 2009 at age 27 and again in November of 2016, about a month before she and Harris were married.

Berset-Harris, who hosts “Great Day Washington” on WUSA9 in Washington, D.C., is stepmother to Harris’ 11 and 13-year-old daughters.

She is also a former sports anchor for TV stations such as WUSA and WBFF Fox45 in Baltimore. Harris, her husband, has been a sports reporter and anchor for more than 20 years, and he is the play-by-play announcer for the Baltimore Brigade Arena Football League team, plus the Ravens Insider and host of the Baltimore Ravens postgame show on 105.7 The Fan radio station.

Berset-Harris, who grew up in St. Petersburg, Fla., has worked with Susan G. Komen since she was a student at the University of Florida. Her sorority, Zeta Tau Alpha, worked with Komen for their philanthropy projects, such as educating local women about conducting self exams.

“Not only were we educated [in breast-cancer prevention], it was our mission to educate the community,” she said.

Berset-Harris said “something like that was always in the back of my mind” when it came to her own health.

She said the Pink Ribbon fundraiser “is just a small part we can play.”

“Our mission, through this business, is to help the community,” Berset-Harris said.

Susan G. Komen affiliates across the U.S. and around the world work to prevent and ultimately cure breast cancer. More than $2.9 billion has been invested in research, public outreach, advocacy for cancer survivors and other programs since the organization was founded in 1982, according to the Susan G. Komen website.

“Maryland is a very important location for Susan G. Komen,” Greg Heitner, special projects advisor with Susan G. Komen Maryland said, citing the research supported at major institutions such as Johns Hopkins Medicine in Baltimore and the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda.

He said the Komen organization also funds support services for patients and their families.

“There’s so many resources available through Susan G. Komen for not just a person with cancer but their families,” he said.

Heitner, a Kingsville resident, has also known Berset-Harris and her husband “for years,” he said.

His mother and mother-in-law both survived cancer. His 13-year-old son, Jack, sang and played his ukulele for Saturday’s kickoff celebration.

Jack, who is in eighth grade at Perry Hall Middle School, performs under the name Jack Heit, and he has played as a number of events to support Komen.

“It’s really fun to get to play music and hearing people sing along and clap, and it’s a really good venue,” Jack said of the doughnut shop.

Other members of his family were on hand to support, such as Jack’s 15-year-old brother, Noah, a sophomore at Perry Hall High School.

Noah said Jack has supported him while playing interscholastic lacrosse.

“I feel like this is my time to give back to him, not only support him, but support Susan G. Komen as well,” Noah said.

Their mother, Jennifer Heitner, was there, too, wearing a bright pink shirt, and grandfather, Ted Kraft, of Stewartstown, Pa.

“We go as a whole family to support the cause,” Jennifer Heitner said.

Her mother, Carole Kraft, survived breast cancer, which was caught early. Mrs. Kraft died about 10 years ago, though, from complications from multiple sclerosis.

“It’s nice when you get an individual company that gets involved in something like this,” Ted Kraft said of the Dewey Donut fundraiser.

Beach theme

Dewey Donut Co. offers made-from-scratch cake doughnuts served hot. Customers can get gourmet doughnuts, with flavors that change every two weeks, “classic donuts,” such as Maple Bacon with maple icing and bacon cooked on site, or custom doughnuts, where people can choose their own icings and toppings.

The shop is at 1521 Rock Spring Road, in the shopping center at Route 24 and Bynum Ridge Road. The interior is decorated in a beach theme, with pastel colors and a surfboard on the wall bearing the business’ logo. The theme is inspired by Maryland and Delaware beaches — such as Dewey Beach, Del. — the owners visited as children and vacation at today.

“That’s what we want people to remember,” Brent Harris said. “When you come in here you feel like you’re on vacation.”

Berset-Harris, who grew up in Florida, brings her coastal experiences to the business, too.

“Being here [in Harford County], I don’t get to the beach as often, so we wanted to bring those memories here,” she said.

Coffee from St. Petersburg-based Kahwa Coffee Roasting Company is served at the shop, either hot, iced or cold brewed, according to Berset-Harris.

Business partner Ian Kendall is connected to the Harris family through marriage — his wife, Jodie, and Brent Harris are first cousins.

Kendall said he spent many years as a retail consultant, opening stores for multiple corporations. Dewey Donut Co. is “a way for us to go into business in a way that capitalizes more on the community perspective of a small town,” he said.

About 14 people work at the shop — the owners had additional employees during the summer, according to Kendall, who operates the business full time.

“To me my favorite part of the day is the smiles on kids’ faces,” he said.

Kendall said he enjoys customers experiencing “a doughnut they can’t get anywhere else.”

Kendall and his partners plan to add two more stores in the next five years, in Harford County and the beach communities.

Customer Mike Hall, of Forest Hill, ordered coffee, a chocolate-peanut butter doughnut for his 2-year-old son, Colt, and a Holy Cannoli donut for him. The latter has chocolate icing, powdered sugar and cannoli cream.

“I think they’re the best doughnuts in Harford County,” Hall said.

Ashley Slocum, a stylist, and Kierra Dermatis, a receptionist at the neighboring Great Clips hair salon, gave the shop high marks, too, and both said they think the Komen fundraiser is “awesome.”

“It’s nice, every now and then, to come over and get something sweet,” Slocum said.

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