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The sign outside just reads "Donuts," but the line outside of the OK Country Donut Shoppe says a lot more.

Customers cheerfully stand in line at 8 a.m. on Saturdays for owner Shine Kim's signature treats: Doughnuts in every shape imaginable. Caterpillars, pirates, swords, footballs, penguins and shamrocks for St. Patrick's Day disappear from the glass counter, and are filled right back up by employees.

Children seriously ponder whether they'll have a caterpillar or a pirate - it's a tough decision.

The shop at 8048 S. Yale Ave., has been in business for more than 20 years, but for the past decade Kim and her husband, Heung, have created a unique niche in Tulsa. And it's become the hot Saturday morning destination for parents and their children.

The Kims bought the shop from Bill Francisco about 10 years ago after learning the business from him. A native of South Korea, Kim and her husband moved to Tulsa after living in Dallas because they heard the people were nice.

"Friends moved here and say it was beautiful," Kim said.

Francisco had already built a large customer base with alphabet-shaped doughnuts and loved to entertain his young customers by dressing as Santa Claus during the holidays.

But he was ready to retire, and he didn't want to sell the shop to just anyone.

"They came down and they didn't know anything about doughnuts, and boy, they just really went into it and really loved it so much," Francisco said.

"We had a hard time. Krispy Kreme came through here," Shine Kim said. "All the time, we just work, work, work."

And with so many small doughnut shops around Tulsa, the business struggled to survive. So the Kims decided to try something special - adding more shapes to their standard "Happy Birthday" doughnuts.

Cutting a niche
"One day a lady said, 'I need a snake,' " Kim said. "I couldn't imagine a snake," but they created one by making custom cutters. "Then one day a lady asked for musical note, so we (started doing) musical instruments."

Now, OK Country Donuts has some 500 shapes and is known for elaborate decorating, all of which is done by Shine.

"I was a floral designer, and I really enjoy making pretty ones," she said.

For drop-in customers, they stick to the seasonal shapes. Right now, spring is the theme, so caterpillars, butterflies, flowers and ladybugs brightly fill the case.

"Some come here with special requests. One dentist ordered a tooth," Shine said.

Regulars love to custom-order doughnuts for birthdays, office meetings and school events, and they'll do just about anything if given 24 hours notice.

"I go to schools all the time, and everyone looks at me and goes, 'There goes the doughnut lady,' " said store manager Juana Juarez. "A lot of kids like to say, 'It's my doughnut shop.' "

On the doughnut line
And kids mean business about their doughnuts, especially on Saturday.

"We are here every Saturday," said Keri Fisher, who was with her 3-year-old son Braxton.

"I want a snake," Braxton said, referring to a green caterpillar doughnut he saw from the line.

Katy Dean of Bixby visits the shop every day before work, which is just nearby, she said.

"I love their jelly doughnuts. They know me. They know what I want when they see me and have it ready," she said.

That's exactly what Shine is most proud of.

"I know everybody, most of their names and what kind of doughnut they like," she said.

Customers have often asked the Kims if they would consider opening a second shop around Tulsa - and the answer is always no.

"I'm really rich. I don't have a lot of money but really beautiful people," Shine said. "It's like family here."