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Pastry Police

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They haven't quit their day jobs; Lovy Page and Tory Agent still share a squad car as police officers five days a week (and Page, 30, still finds time to compete as a professional heavyweight boxer). But last August, the childhood friends became entrepreneurs, launching Donuts 4 U, a pastry shop in Dallas.

"[We] knew if there was an eatery here, especially one that everyone could afford, it would do really well," says Agent, 27. "Everyone's eaten a doughnut in their lifetime, just like everyone's been to McDonald's. And everyone will eat a doughnut again."

OK, so maybe he's speaking for himself--and the rest of the force--but cops aren't the shop's only customers. Donuts 4 U is surrounded by 12 schools and more than 30 churches within a one-mile radius or less. The numbers tell the story: Sales have exceeded $500 a day since the store's inception. Local media couldn't resist playing up the cops-and-doughnuts image, giving Donuts 4 U just the publicity boost it needed.

The fiscally conservative pair were able to launch their company without outside financing, since they worked special assignments for the police force during their off-hours and invested the extra income. "Instead of going out and buying a $70,000 or $80,000 car, we put that money into the business," says Agent.

Thanks to a marketing strategy that focuses on group accounts for churches, hospitals and other businesses (they even snagged exclusive pastry rights to last January's Cotton Bowl championship), the partners expect sales to more than double this year. "We have an unconditional commitment to success," says Agent, "and now's the time to make it happen."

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This article was originally published in the April 1999 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Pastry Police.

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