A Look Back At It's Legacy!
It all began in those early formative years of the 20th Century. John B. “J.B.” Hargrove of Sulphur Springs, Texas , looking to provide for his young family, decided to leave the lone star state, moving them first, to Oklahoma in the pursuit of job opportunities. With the onset of the Depression, those massive dust storms sweeping the land, and work hard to come by, he decided to return to Texas, settling in Dallas where he joined a cousin working in a Dallas doughnut shop. He took great interest in this new craft, later working at Dixie Cream Donuts in Dallas, before starting Southern Maid in 1937 with his wife, Rosalea . The Southern Maid Donut Flour Co., at first a wholesale operation, began with one store at 2516 Second Ave., in the Fair Park section of Dallas. Soon stores were opening in places like Houston, and Shreveport with others popping up throughout Texas.
Wholesale and retail outlets like this one began sprouting up all over Texas
From the start, the whole Hargrove family was involved in the business. J.B. and Rosalea’s two children, Doris and Lon grew up learning the business, with Rosalea, herself being the original “Southern Maid” for having perfected the secret recipe of that famous donut flour. Today, the company is still a family operation, with thousands of pounds of donut flour and donut “condiments” being sold and shipped to some 90 or so franchisees throughout the deep South and Southwest. Doris and Lon now provide leadership for the company, along with Doris’ son, Les Franklin out of their offices in Garland, Texas. And that donut flour recipe is the same as it was back in 1937.
Young Doris and little brother Lon doing “quality control”
Shreveport, Louisiana’s Southern Maid Donut operation has a fascinating past! J.B. Hargrove introduced the art of making donuts to a Mr. Bruce Jones, of Shreveport, La. in 1941. Mr. Jones’ first shop was located in old downtown Shreveport near the foot of a brick bridge that crossed the Red River. Later, he moved his donut enterprise out west of town to Greenwood Rd. There, literally thousands of folks have become introduced to the wonderful aroma and taste of the Southern Maid HOT glazed donut! In the ‘50s, one could walk into that Greenwood Rd. donut palace and not only be greeted by warm and friendly cashiers waiting to serve, but by two sometimes rowdy black Mynah birds. On occasion, they would hurl an insult or two at unsuspecting customers who were awaiting their box of hot, glazed confectionary delights!
Besides loving music, Bruce Jones became a master of the art of donut frying
Bruce Jones had a great love for music. So, when the Louisiana Hayride began in the Spring of 1948, Mr. Jones saw a grand opportunity to promote his donut business by becoming one of the first sponsors of this new country music radio program held weekly at Shreveport’s Municipal Auditorium. Each week, as hundreds of folks would come and fill the Auditorium, and as thousands were listening on KWKH radio, that 50,000 watt “flamethrower”out of Shreveport at 1130 on the AM dial, Mr. Jones, during the Southern Maid Donut sponsored portion of the program, would come out on stage, with a box of HOT glazed donuts, giving some to Horace Logan or Frank Page, Hayride announcers, and having them talk about his delicacy known as a Southern Maid Donut. Eating them there on stage, the folks in the crowd couldn’t wait to get their hands on a HOT Southern Maid donut. So it was only natural when, after the last musical act, about 11:30pm, a caravan of cars, filled with happy Hayride goers, made their way to Greenwood Rd to satisfy their “hankering” for a HOT glazed Southern Maid Donut.
Elvis Presley performed on the Louisiana Hayride a number of times beginning in the Fall of 1954, and with that came his introduction to Southern Maid Donuts
There were a number of now legendary musicians who graced the Hayride stage at Municipal Auditorium. Folks like Jimmy C. Newman, “Gentleman” Jim Reeves, Johnny Horton, and Johnny Cash honed their skills in Shreveport at the Louisiana Hayride. But, there was one young man, a 19 year old guitar picker from Memphis, TN who would literally turn the music world upside down, and he loved Southern Maid Donuts. That’s right! The King, himself. . . Elvis Presley, was known to hang out at his favorite donut emporium. . .Bruce Jones’ Southern Maid Donuts out on Shreveport’s Greenwood Rd. And to this day, the only commercial endorsement Elvis ever did was for his favorite donut. . . Southern Maid Donuts.
Southern Maid Donuts of Shreveport sponsored a portion of the Louisiana Hayride each week on KWKH Radio
Today, that Greenwood Rd store has been replaced by a portion of the Willis-Knighton Hospital. But, Bruce Jones’ operation continues just a few blocks away on Hearne Avenue, just across from the Louisiana State Fairgrounds and is now run by his grandson, Mike. And if you’re traveling through Shreveport on Interstate 20, and if it’s after 4:00pm on any given day, you’d be remiss if you didn’t get off at the Hearne Ave. exit, and head straight for the little cream colored building with the huge “HOT Hot Hot” sign that promises to satisfy your most intense donut cravings.
The glazed donuts are ALWAYS HOT after 4:00pm!