After leaving the Army, Mark Rothermel, who earned his master’s degree in business administration, took a job designing products for insurance companies. But he realized he didn’t fit in the corporate world and decided to become his own boss.
Rothermel is now a franchise owner of Fractured Prune Doughnuts in Las Vegas, Denver and Phoenix. The Las Vegas store is located at 9460 W. Flamingo Road.
“Coming from a place where I had to prove differentiation of a product that was essentially the same, it was a relief,” Rothermel said. “Everybody loves doughnuts.”
Tell us about your background.
I’m originally from Chicago. I traveled a lot out west for work and then moved to Arizona in 2012 for a previous employer.
When did your franchise move into the local market and do you see any expansion in the future?
We first opened in November of 2016. We would love to expand to several stores throughout Las Vegas and Henderson.
What is your favorite doughnut creation?
The OC Sand, our original doughnut — honey glaze and cinnamon sugar dusting — is my favorite by far, but I also love our plain doughnut. It has incredible flavor and texture. I would love to have a plain doughnut contest with any store anywhere. If you cannot make your plain doughnut well, you should not be in this business.
What’s your secret to maintaining a five-star rating on Yelp?
Control what you can. Some people might not like doughnuts. We try to have great, friendly service no matter what, and we try and be helpful leading them to our best-selling flavors. If something breaks down with that, we try to make people happy. All bad reviews are difficult to not take personally. They really make the team sad that we fell short. We just try and work harder next time.
Where do you see yourself and/or your company in 10 years?
I think we can claim a larger presence in the Western states. We have a real opportunity to build a large operation with leaders who all started working in the shops. The team has so much potential to grow.
As an Army veteran, what skills did you learn in the service that you still use in your business practices?
Identifying leaders and empowering them was always important. Being a former cavalryman, you also look to solve problems on the fly and not get bogged down in bureaucracy. I try and take on as many problems to solve as possible and remember the old adage about a fast 70 percent solution (spend 70 percent of your time on the core business, 20 percent on related projects, and 10 percent on unrelated new businesses).
What is something that people might not know about you?
I played the viola for 10 years and played alongside several people who are now professional musicians. Note: I was exceptionally mediocre.
You have a growing family. What is the key to life/work balance?
An incredible wife. She does the real heavy lifting. We try to incorporate some travel into visiting the stores with the family as well. The great thing is the kids love the doughnuts.
What advice would you offer to someone who desires to become a franchise owner?
Call me. We can make it happen.