Claremore Icon: Carlos Gripado, Donut Man

gripadocarlowI walked up to the counter at Carlos Gripado’s donut shop one afternoon and no one was visible. I heard grunting in the back, and directly who came out but Carlos Gripado himself, dragging a 50-pound bag of flour. I asked him, “Carlos, how much does a 50-pound sack of flour weigh these days?” He snorted, “A whole lot more than it used to!”

“Any man who sleeps more than five hours a night is loafing.”

For years, it was considered part of a Claremore boy’s upraising and liberal education to spend a little time working for Carlos. He taught a work ethic like no other.

Carlos comes to work in the morning at 6a, leaves the shop about 4p, then goes home, sits in his chair, and dozes through the news. At 7p, it’s back to to shop working till 1:30a. “When do you sleep?” I asked. He said “Any man who sleeps more than five hours a night is loafing.”

You’d be surprised how many men around town got their start working with Carlos, doing blistering hot, hard work early in the morning! He’s had lawyers, doctors, and architects. Carlos beamed as he told me of a recent helper he’d coaxed to go through RSU paying her own way working and ending with no student loans.

gripadoexteriorGripado’s is a family operation. Wife Adrienne and daughter Gina work most days, and youngest daughter Robin helps on Sunday. Sunday is the busiest day, when they make over 1,000 donuts. “These churches just go crazy,” he said, ”some spending $300 per Sunday on donuts!”

In the old days when trains stopped, blocking the whole town, word around town was the engineers stopped to get a donut from Carlos. Today, Gripado’s is no longer located in the old Texaco store next to the train tracks. It’s now at 1210 N. Industrial Blvd., at the corner of Industrial and Blue Starr. (Still next to train tracks!)

When the customers come in each morning, Carlos “holds court,” discussing a whole range of opinions on virtually any subject. No matter what you are discussing, Carlos’s fix is always the same. “We need less regulation and lower taxes.”

Open 7 days a week, Gripado’s has been open 41 years, making it one of Claremore’s oldest businesses. They know of folks from 168 countries served over the years, and that’s just from Centrilift (Baker Hughes/Halliburton).

Gripado’s is a family affair, offering the kind of food, friendship, and color that make Claremore the great place to live it is.

 -Robby Melton

rob melton

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