By Holly Huffman
At the age of 24, Jack “Lee” Marcum III had a choice: Come back home to run the family business or pursue a degree in computer science.
Marcum went with his heart. He chose family and the business he came to love. Since then, the CEO of New Castle, Indiana-based Jack’s Donuts has continued the legacy started by his grandfather, the original “Jack.”
The company, which began in 1961 when Marcum’s grandfather took over a New Castle doughnut shop, now boasts 21 locations in Indiana and in Utah. According to Marcum, the company is continuing to grow.
We chatted with Marcum about his journey as a young CEO, running a growing family-based business, and the future of Jack’s Donuts.
You were 24 when you took the helm at Jack’s Donuts. Has it been challenging running the business as a young CEO?
Yes, but it has made me tough. Being taken serious at a young age was not easy, but I was able power through. I’ve learned that people want a leader; they want to be led. I try to lead by example.
Your grandfather and father running the business previously. Did you feel like you needed to walk in their footsteps?
Not for a second. My dad always told me to “be me“ and to do whatever I wanted to do. I never felt like I had to do this. It was my destiny.
Your company has remained local since its founding in 1961. Why is that important to you and to the business?
New Castle is where it all began. Jack’s Donuts wouldn’t be where it is without the great people of Henry County. We will one day be a worldwide company, but our headquarters will always be in New Castle.
Do other family members work for the company?
Yes! My father, Jack Marcum II, works for me as well as my cousin, Austin Marcum. It is always nice to have someone that you can trust no matter what. Our company is full of great people, but having my dad and Austin around takes a big load off of my shoulder.
Describe the production process for the doughnuts.
Some “wet“ ingredients are shipped into all Jack’s Donuts locations from New Castle, but the majority of everything is made in house. Each Jack’s Donuts franchise employs a skilled head baker who makes doughnuts by hand at each location.
What are your goals for the future of Jack’s Donuts?
Two words — worldwide domination!
What has been your biggest accomplishment as CEO?
The opening of Jack’s Donuts Utah. I remember thinking to myself originally, “how am I going to pull this off?” We did, and Utah is now a very important part of our company.
What’s the most popular doughnut at Jack’s?
The tiger tail doughnut. No matter where we go, that doughnut is always a hit!
What’s your favorite doughnut?
The old school chocolate iced roll. I still eat a few every week. I love them!
Holly Huffman is member relations/advertising manager at Electric Consumer.