It's been a long-standing tradition with NFL teams that rookies often have to bring donuts in for their veteran teammates on a weekly basis. And it's been just as long a tradition that football players have enjoyed eating those donuts.
So it's only natural that former Steelers center Justin Hartwig, who started on the Super Bowl XLIII team, is now the owner of, yes a donut shop.
Hartwig just opened Peace, Love & Little Donuts on Route 19 in Wexford. It's a shop that doesn't just bring you run of the mill donuts, but instead ones made to order with a toppings bar that includes bacon, fruit, favorite candies and everything in between.
"Since I retired from football I would consider myself an entrepreneur," said Hartwig. "I have been kicking around the idea of opening one of the donut shops. I came here to this location, scouted it out and we agreed this would be perfect.
"The building needed a lot of work. I decided to dig my heels in and get in the donut business. I invested my energy into learning about the business and building everything, including the building, from ground up. In many senses I was the general contractor. I worked on the signage, the township codes, and the paint colors and stucco. I had a designer help me but we were in line with the vision. Everything starts and finishes with the owner. I put people in places I don't have strengths to help me succeed, like making donuts. I don't know how to make them yet."
The shop just opened its doors this week, and while he doesn't know how to make the donuts yet, he does know how to enjoy them.
"I am no slouch when it comes to donuts," said Hartwig. "Growing up my parents used to give me donuts every morning for breakfast. I grew up on donuts. It was then fostered into the culture when I got into the NFL. I am actually very conscious about a healthy lifestyle and eating, but I always felt there was room for dessert. You have to enjoy life."