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Retail—The area’s first Krispy Kreme doughnut shop is expected to have patrons standing in line



First Local Krispy Kreme Store Expected to Need Traffic Control Measures

D’oh!

Homer Simpson would probably utter his famed cry of exasperation while waiting to get into this doughnut shop , people tend to queue up in lines that go clear out of the store.

But he’s welcome to try. Doughnut fans throughout San Diego are looking forward to the arrival of Winston-Salem, N.C.-based Krispy Kreme doughnuts, scheduled to open Dec. 19 at 4180 Clairemont Mesa Boulevard. And long lines are expected.

Other area stores may soon follow, said Amy Sloan, marketing manager for Great Circle Family Foods, LLC, franchisers for Krispy Kreme.

Sloan stressed these aren’t just ordinary doughnuts. These are yeast-raised doughnuts , probably the first yeast-raised mix in North America , and they’re served hot.

“They come right off the conveyor belt, and they are literally piping hot. You bite into them and they melt in your mouth. They are so good because they’re so hot and so fresh,” she said.

Part of Krispy Kreme’s cachet is a neon sign outside the store advertising, “Hot Doughnuts Now.” When the sign is lit in the morning and early evening, customers know doughnuts are being made at that moment, Sloan said.

Originally, the 63-year-old company was located only in the Southeast. People who left the East Coast tended to miss the flavor of the doughnuts from back home, Sloan said.

“Transplants from the South who are spread all over the United States have talked about them. Some people have been talking about them for 20 years in San Diego,” she said.

That’s why the opening of a new Krispy Kreme franchise tends to create so much excitement.

“At the Bakersfield opening, we had a gentleman show up with an oxygen tank. He was the first person in line , he showed up at 6 p.m. the night before,” Sloan said.

Krispy Kreme opened its first franchise in La Habra in January 1999. Some San Diegans considered that store opening to be an event , one couple drove up from Camp Pendleton to get a taste on opening day before driving back to Oceanside so the husband could make it to the Marine base in time for muster, she said.

Since then, locals have been driving miles out of their way to Krispy Kreme outlets in Orange County or Ontario. The Clairemont store, the 10th in Southern California, will be a bit closer to home for them, Sloan said.

“This is very, very much anticipated. They’ve been long waiting for this store,” she said.

Harry Heyligers agreed. As the general manager of the new Krispy Kreme store, he’s expecting such large crowds at 5:30 a.m. that he’s hired traffic control measures, he said.

“The brand carries a great deal of loyalty. The one thing that makes us different than most other doughnut places is that we serve our glazed (doughnuts) hot,” he said. “And I think that’s where 90 percent of our loyalty comes from , just that it’s a hot doughnut.”

Adding to that is the “mouth-dropping experience” people get when they come into a Krispy Kreme store. People get to see the doughnuts being made, and the staff is upbeat, Heyligers said.

Heyligers himself was enthralled by the Krispy Kreme experience. He had been working for Great Circle when he was asked to work for Krispy Kreme. So he went to a Krispy Kreme store and was amazed by what he saw.

“The first time I went to a Krispy Kreme and saw a line outside, I was absolutely astonished that people would wait for a doughnut,” he said.

Local banker Ron Phillips is one of them. Although he hasn’t driven hundreds of miles out of his way for Krispy Kremes, he has tried them out when business takes him into Orange County, he said.

“They truly are unique. And they obviously have a huge following, because no matter where I’ve been, there have been lines of people waiting to get them,” Phillips said.

Phillips was impressed to see the loyalty these doughnuts engender, citing an experience at the Braves/Yankees World Series game in Atlanta in 1999. He wanted to bring some doughnuts with him to the game and was amazed to learn stadium officials made an exception to the no-outside-food rule just for Krispy Kremes, he said.

Phillips also noted they are growing rapidly in Southern California, buoyed largely by word-of-mouth, he said.

The local store will be open from 5:30 a.m. until 11 p.m., and on Fridays and Saturdays until 1 a.m. The drive-thru will be open 24 hours, Heyligers said.

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