CAROLINA BEACH, NC (OXFORD AMERICAN) —The same smell of donuts frying has been wafting over the Carolina Beach Boardwalk every summer for seventy-three years. It’s a small boardwalk, a Legoland of tourism against the Atlantic Ocean. It’s seen a lot of crowds come and go, and in 2012 the souvenirs for sale are new batches of the same old things: booty shorts, sand pails, foam footballs, picture frames, a T-shirt with a squirrel holding two giant nuts around its groin. A person can go to an arcade here or get a henna tattoo; it’s a place that seems to reward the teenager. But the origin of the donut smell is a shop run by a pair of grandparents. Britt’s Donuts is the Boardwalk’s longest running business, the only one that’s been a consistent draw for both locals and tourists since 1939.
Bobby and Maxine Nevins are in charge of Britt’s, opening the shop’s garage doors every year from May to September. Bobby and Maxine, both born in small towns near Charlotte, each moved to Carolina Beach as children with their parents. The two were married in 1959, and in 1974, they bought the donut shop where Bobby used to work, and picked up where H.L. Britt, the shop’s original owner, left off.