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Phone (800) 228-8305

About Lil' Orbits

Company Info

Turning adults into children for fifty years! 

It all started with an entrepreneur and his family...

The brainchild of eccentric entrepreneur Ed Anderson, Lil' Orbits donut machines have been helping people all over the world become financially independent. In the early 70's, "Edo" set to work creating that very first prototype mini donut machine in his garage workshop. During one attempt, Ed unknowingly used solder that melts at the precise temperature needed to fry donuts. After only a few dozen donuts were produced, the machine melted down and Ed returned to the garage to perfect his new creation. 

In 1974, the first Lil' Orbits mall location was opened. Run by Ed and Pat Anderson, "Little O'Nuts" was a free-standing mini doughnut kiosk in Minnesota. When customers began asking about the name, confusing the sweet smelling kiosk with a local hot peanut vendor, the name was changed Lil' Orbits was born. By the end of that year, Lil' Orbits expanded to three permanent donut stores in Minnesota, including one in the concourse of the Minneapolis IDS Tower. 

From selling donuts to selling donut machines...

The indoor locations were so successful that Ed and Pat decided to take their invention on the road. A retired postal van was renovated and turned into the very first Lil' Orbits concession truck. The mobile donut concession was such a success that after several events it was sold to an independent operator, who reported incredible profits. This initial success gave the Andersons the idea to leave the donut selling business and begin manufacturing their machines to sell to other like-minded folks, setting them up for their own high-profit business. 

In the beginning, Lil' Orbits manufactured machines for a division of American Specialty Foods called 'Donut Man.' A few of these original 'Donut Man' branded machines are actually still in operation today. In 1982, the companies split and eventually Donut Man went out of business. With a new manufacturing plant and sales staff, Lil' Orbits spent it's early years developing and adding several new machine models and perfecting it's world famous donut mix. 

Meet Orbie the duck...

During the late 80's, Lil' Orbits began to turn their focus to the worldwide market. In 1987, the first international distributorships were started in Germany and Belgium with the help of Harald and Gerda Eyben and Francis Geron. The overwhelming success of these operations gave rise the many more distributorships in various countries all over the world. In fact, you can purchase mini donuts in over 110 countries from our ever-expanding family of independent operators. But what about the duck mascot? We get questions all the time from American operators about why we have two names and two logos. The reason is that there are no ways to properly translate 'Lil' into so many other languages. It was easier for us to adopt a completely new name that was similar enough, but easily translated into any language. As for Orbie the duck, he is modeled after the floating duck carnival games... which reminded us a lot of our little donuts floating through our machines. 

From one generation to the next. Lil' Orbits into the future...

Over the years, a lot of changes have occurred in the world and at Lil' Orbits, but we still remain dedicated to our original goals -- business tradition and sharing. Our company is now in it's third generation of Anderson-family ownership, with the company passing to Ed and Pat's son Charlie, and now to his children Jessica and John. 

As our President, Charlie Anderson, puts it: "Lil' Orbits is a taste tradition, and a tradition of entrepreneurship, all started long ago by an inventor and his family, with an idea for making mini-donuts and a plan for putting like-minded folks into business. It's also in the best keeping of American business tradition, where a good idea can spread across the country, and now around the world, to delivery financial success.

"We're proud of what we have accomplished for our business, but even more proud of what Lil' Orbits has meant to folks who wanted to have their own business. We've helped so many people realize the financial independence that can result from their efforts. That's what life is all about: sharing. It's very rewarding."