CHATHAM — Mama Crockett’s Cider Donuts brought its famous donuts from Lynchburg to Pittsylvania County for the first time Wednesday morning, thanks to Alisa Davis with the Reid Street Gallery in Chatham.

Even though the teal food truck announced a visit at 5 p.m. Tuesday, they had a line waiting when they opened their truck window at 7 a.m., and they had served more than 100 people by 10 a.m. Scheduled to be there until 2 p.m., the donut desirers of Chatham kept them there for a while longer, with some customers ordering as many as five dozen.

“We wanted to do something simple, but with a little twist.”

Mama Crockett, as a person, doesn’t actually exist except “in our hearts and dreams,” according to owner Frederick “FW” Willis.

Willis’ first entrepreneurial venture was the Shaved Ice Shack in Buena Vista, which features a similar logo to Mama Crockett’s. Willis originally started the donut business in 2014 as a way to work through the winter, when shaved ice doesn’t sell as well, but the donuts have kept the two employees hopping.

Their logo “took on a life of its own” and was nicknamed “Shavey Crockett.” The story is that Mama Crockett is Shavey’s mother, who came back to serve her world-famous cider donuts.

Reid Street Gallery is known for supporting local artisans. They also regularly carry locally made snacks and art, as well as host classes for everything from dancing to glass fusing.

With 712 reviews on Facebook, Mama Crockett’s has no reviews lower than three stars, and they credit two reasons for those high ratings — delicious donuts and “amazing” customer service.

Willis responds to almost every review and comment on the Facebook page personally, even offering free donuts to three star reviewers to improve their experience.

“We do pay very close attention to what we’re doing, and it helps that we only have one product. It’s easier to get dialed in, to focus on the process and any minor changes,” Willis said. “My thing is about building up hype and buzz. It helps that the donut is great when you get here.”

Willis said he was thrilled about trying out new towns.

“January is typically a down time for us, but this year it hasn’t been, because we’re working to bust open these new towns. We’ve just been slinging non-stop.”

Ceillie ​Simkiss reports for the Danville Register & Bee. Contact her at csimkiss@registerbee.com or (434) 791-7981.

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