LAWTON – Open for less than a month, Ross Donuts, 1807 W. Gore Blvd., has already been attracting regulars looking to satisfy their sweet tooth with a sugary doughnut or indulge in a savory kolache.
Local high school student Fabiano Collazo, of Lawton, was wrapping up a purchase of some of Ross Donuts’ kolaches when Southwest Ledger asked him what he liked best about the new donut shop.
“I’ve been coming here since it opened,” Collazo said. “It’s all really good.”
Another satisfied customer, it would seem. And once you get to know Ross Donuts owner Kyle Pich, you understand that he puts a lot of love and effort into making folks feel welcome while providing a delicious breakfast treat that keeps them coming back for the croissants, bowties, blueberry doughnuts, chocolate apple fritters and many other options.
Pich has a remarkable story. Born in Cambodia in 1972, while the war in Southeast Asia still raged, he and his family were soon under the brutal, communist dictatorship of the Khmer Rouge.
While Pich’s father, who had been in the Cambodian military, vanished amidst the chaos and butchery of the Killing Fields, Pich, along with his mother and the rest of his siblings were eventually able to reach a refugee camp on the Thai border. It was there that Pich grew to love American culture, particularly the films, like Romeo & Juliet and the 1973 screwball spaghetti western My Name is Nobody, starring Henry Fonda.
In the early 1980s, Pich and his family first arrived in San Francisco, before a Christian missionary helped them relocate to north Texas. And while Pich moved around the country, he was drawn back to Texas, where he worked in managerial and corporate positions.
More recently, however, Pich was living and working in Montgomery, Ala., with his wife and two young sons, running a doughnut shop there – also called Ross Donuts – and getting to know all sorts of folks in that city.
But eventually, Pich wanted to move closer to his mother in north Texas. Deciding rents were too high in that area of the state, along with other doughnut-making competitors, Pich crossed the Red River and found himself in Lawton. He settled on a renting out a former nail salon on Gore Blvd., and has been making doughnuts since early November.
“I called it ‘Ross Donuts’ here as well because I liked the name,” Pich said.
A creative writer in his spare time, Pich has worked on short stories and movie scripts including a story about his early life in Cambodia, including parts about the Khmer Rouge and the Killing Fields and the French and American occupations. Pich said he has tentatively titled it Once Upon a Time in Cambodia.
In fact, this reporter was so engaged in conversation with Pich that a full hour slipped by before noticing the time. Pich is well-rounded in his interests and will talk about nearly any subject, from politics to film, or recall meeting novelist Ray Bradbury and how amazing that experience was.
Not only is Pich a thoughtful philosopher and family man, but he also loves his job and has been doing everything he can to get the word out about his business, and carve out a niche that is appealing to one and all.
The interior, which was remodeled by Pich himself, does not have tables and chairs right now, due to the pandemic. However, once it passes, the immigrant entrepreneur is keen to get games of chess and Go happening – to make it a place where great, doughnut-loving minds can get together.
Ross Donuts also has plenty of coffee and a cooler full of juices, sodas and related beverages of bubbly goodness. It is open seven days a week from 5 a.m. to 1 p.m.
“I get up at 2 a.m. every day,” the hardworking baker said. Later in the week, on a beautiful Sunday afternoon, the seemingly tireless Pich talked to this reporter as he headed to Medicine Park with his family. “You have to get out and get fresh air when you can,” he said.
Ross Donuts is also active in the community, as he was back in Montgomery, which is another military town. This has not gone unnoticed.
“Working with Ross’s Donuts has been a pleasure,” said Krista Ratliff, president and CEO of the Lawton-Fort Sill Chamber of Commerce. “Their involvement in the community has been tremendous ... and they have great doughnuts.”