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Irene's Holy Donuts on Tucson's North Fourth Avenue is closing
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Irene's Holy Donuts on Tucson's North Fourth Avenue is closing

Less than a year after opening, Irene’s Holy Donuts on North Fourth Avenue will close for good at the end of business Feb. 23.

The owners made the announcement on Facebook Friday, Jan. 10, saying it was due to “circumstances beyond our control.”

Owner Irene Heiman said those circumstances included a pair of planned rent increases — the first in March, when her lease is up for renewal, and another in June — that would have more than doubled her current $7,000 monthly rent.

“I was almost going to do it, but I really crunched the numbers and I just could not do it,” Heiman said. “I was working my butt off to even make this $9,000 a month” in rent and utility costs.

Heiman and her husband Stephen opened Irene’s at 340 N. Fourth Ave., at the end of last March, weeks after they had planned. On opening day, it took less than four hours to sell out of 500 specialty doughnuts of all varieties, from cream- and fruit-filled to glazed and frosted.

The Tucson bakery, located in the former Can’s Deli and bar, was the second for the couple. In 2015, Heiman gave up a career in real estate to open the flagship Irene’s Donuts in the couple’s native Kailua-Kona, Hawaii.

Heiman, in an interview with the Star last February, said the idea to open a doughnut shop came in a dream in 2014. With no baking experience or training, she spent months testing recipes and doughnut ideas before opening.

Heiman said she is flirting with opening in a different Tucson location, but nothing is set. From now through Feb. 23, Irene’s will be open from 7 a.m. to midnight Thursdays through Saturdays, 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesdays and 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Wednesdays.

Contact reporter Cathalena E. Burch at cburch@tucson.com or 573-4642. On Twitter @Starburch.

Cathalena has covered music for the Star for the past 20 years. She's a graduate of Arizona State University has worked at Sedona Red Rock News, Niagara Gazette in Niagara Falls, New York; and USA Today.

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