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  • Lori Prosio

  • Elevendy What looks like a scene from a video game is actually a promotional design for the Sacramento Kings from Elevendy, a Roseville studio founded when two ad guys teamed up in 2011.

  • Cathie Anderson

Cathie Anderson: Doughnuts are mini, but dreams are big at Old Sac eatery

Published: Tuesday, Jul. 16, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 1B
Last Modified: Tuesday, Jul. 16, 2013 - 7:09 am

Danny Johnson started out making his mini-doughnuts on an appropriately small cart in Old Sacramento, but small things apparently need big, big spaces.

Johnson moved his business, Danny's Mini Donuts, into a storefront with 300 square feet in February 2010. Then, last July, he expanded into the 300 square feet next door. Now Johnson is negotiating with management in Old Sac for a space that would once again double his size.

"I started out doing fairs and festivals because it was an easy market to identify," he said. "… That allowed me to generate the revenue that I needed to develop the store. My goal is to bring fair food to Main Street."

Besides his mini-doughnuts, Johnson sells mini-pies, ice cream, gingerbread cookies and wedding cakes.

Monday morning found St. Louis residents Greg and Jen Naslund and their four children at Johnson's counter for a decadent breakfast.

"I come in every July to visit my 90-year-old aunt and uncle," Jen Naslund said. "We're here for five days of vacation, and we've been here three of the five days. … We start our morning out with Danny's dozen of every flavor of doughnuts and then we come back in the afternoon for ice cream."

Danny's dozen, by the way, is composed of 16 minis, at a price of $6. "I'm redefining the dozen," Johnson said.

Prosio goes solo

Lori Prosio learned a lot about courting business for a communications firm over the past nine years, while she was establishing and expanding the Sacramento operation of San Diego-based Katz & Associates.

Katz's local office now ranks as the fifth-largest PR firm in the region, with $2 million in annual revenue and more than 18 employees. Now, Prosio said, it's time for her to venture out and build her own firm.

"I've never been so sure of anything in my life," she said. "… When it's right, you just know it. A big part of what I've spent the last several years doing is working on public education and social marketing campaigns. I've done a tremendous amount of work for the state of California. It's what I know. It's what I like. It's what I have a passion for, so that will be a top strategy for me."

Prosio led Katz's local team as they secured business from such entities as the California Office of Traffic Safety, the California Department of Motor Vehicles and the Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District. As she strikes out alone, she said, her first big client is 7-Eleven Inc.

Prosio, 39, a Cordova High School and Sacramento State graduate, is still looking for the right office space.

These go to 11

If you want to visit the creative support studio called Elevendy, pack a parachute – either that or ride a tornado from Kansas.

Sure, their street address is in Roseville, but when you walk in on them taking pictures of guys wearing ski masks and holding submachine guns, it feels like you're on another planet.

Elevendy was born after Dave Cox and Wil Wells scrapped their individual companies and partnered up in January 2011.

"We ended up working together on so many different projects that we were trading checks literally multiple times a week, and it got confusing as far as, 'Whose client are we talking to today?' " Cox told me. "We had moved into an office together, and around December of 2010, we decided, 'You know what, let's stop getting confused on all these different clients … and so we formed Elevendy."

Since then, they've won a passel of awards from the Sacramento Advertising Club for their visual art. They took home 14 gold Addys this year alone.

Spend a few hours with them and you get an idea of the time-intensive work it takes to win this kind of recognition. The team here pores over the skin on a zombie's face. They consult weapons experts to ensure they're putting the right weapon in a soldier's hand. They create a medieval 3-D world of towering waterfalls or dense forest, and then they carefully place a posed Sacramento Kings dancer in just the right spot.

Their client list includes global video game developer Ubisoft, the Sacramento Kings and California Family Fitness. As for that Elevendy name, it represents the imagination of a small child conceiving what comes after 10 and an overreaching work ethic that has this team always striving to be better than a 10.

Call The Bee's Cathie Anderson, (916) 321-1193. Back columns, Follow her on Twitter @cathiea_sacbee.

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