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Dough wars: Tampa's Mini Doughnut Factory sues Mini Donut Mill over name

Patrick and Zuzera Ruddell, owners of the Mini Doughnut Factory, are shown earlier this year after earning best doughnuts and best new business awards from Creative Loafing. The Mini Doughnut Factory is now suing a new local competitor over its similar name.
[File photo courtesy of the Mini Doughnut Factory]
Patrick and Zuzera Ruddell, owners of the Mini Doughnut Factory, are shown earlier this year after earning best doughnuts and best new business awards from Creative Loafing. The Mini Doughnut Factory is now suing a new local competitor over its similar name. [File photo courtesy of the Mini Doughnut Factory]
Published May 31, 2017

TAMPA — It appears that South Tampa's cult favorite doughnut shop, the Mini Doughnut Factory, may be victorious after challenging a new local competitor over its similar name.

A recent complaint filed in Hillsborough County circuit court details a dispute between the owners of the Mini Doughnut Factory and newcomer Mini Donut Mill, which opened recently less than two miles away from one another.

Stephen and Katie Schab opened the Mini Donut Mill earlier this month at 4048 W. Kennedy Blvd. The suit says that the Stephen Schab allegedly approached Patrick and Zezura Ruddell, the owners of the Mini Doughnut Factory about buying a franchise in July 2016, but the Ruddells declined. It has been previously reported that the Ruddells were considering franchise opportunities and had planned to open a chain of retail operations. The Mini Doughnut Factory does not currently have franchise owners.

The lawsuit claims that Schab is attempting to take advantage of the Mini Doughnut Factory's success by using a similar name, which is affecting sales and overall business. When the Schabs refused to change their name, the Ruddells filed the suit seeking action, court documents say.

The Mini Donut Mill's Facebook page was down on Tuesday. By Wednesday, the business had been renamed "Little Donut House" on its website, Google and social media pages. Requests for comment were not returned.

Contact Justine Griffin at jgriffin@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8467. Follow @SunBizGriffin.