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Krispy Kreme set to open in Waco

Jan. 22, 2004

By Lauren Slusher, reporter

Krispy Kreme Doughnuts will switch on its 'hot light' for the first time on Feb. 3 at its new Waco location at 621 N. Valley Mills Dr.

Krispy Kreme named two Waco Crestview Elementary school students ambassadors to the new store. The two third- and fourth-graders who celebrate birthdays on the opening day will cut the official doughnut ribbon, initiating the store's launch.

'I'm kind of nervous,' Malisa Plump, the 10-year-old ambassador, said. 'But [being an ambassador] has been really fun so far. The best part was getting to make my own doughnut.'

The two girls received Krispy Kreme prize packs with a complete set of Krispy Kreme apparel and a ticket for free doughnuts.

'When I came back, everyone would say, 'Look! There goes the Krispy Kreme Doughnut girl!'' Colby Smith, 9-year-old ambassador, said.

Krispy Kreme offers the opportunity to become an ambassador to any enthusiast, with the online submission of a Krispy Kreme testimonial.

'One manager saw a little girl that just seemed really sad,' Bo Harvel, Krispy Kreme's Waco general manager, said. 'He let her go in the back, look around and even pump doughnuts. We later got a letter from her parents saying that she'd just been diagnosed with cancer, had been having a really tough time and then came in and was treated like a queen.'

Past openings have proven the intense enthusiasm of Krispy Kreme fans throughout the country, as both children and adults have spent the night outside store doors just to have that first fresh doughnut.

'In Corpus Christi, five kids camped out for the 48 hours before the store opening,' Harvel said. 'At another opening, we had a drive-thru window line that was over a mile long. We loved that, and we're hoping that being in a college town, we'll get some similar reactions.'

However, Krispy Kreme may not be Waco's exclusive doughnut vender. The long-standing Jack N' Jill Donuts continues its business just across the street from the new location, and Shipley's Doughnuts at the Bill Daniel Student Center building is frequently patronized.

'Hopefully [the opening] won't affect our business too much,' Yessie Garcia, a Shipley's Doughnuts employee at Baylor, said. 'But it's a new thing, so people will be tempted to try it.'

However, Harvel believes this opening of one of Krispy Kreme's 300-plus locations could actually boost sales for other doughnut vendors.

'We're all for friendly competition,' Harvel said. 'More doughnut stores will just bring more doughnut awareness in the community. It's hard to see it this way, but it's actually a positive - in Austin, we opened up a store beside a Dunkin' Donuts, and they ended up having the best numbers they'd seen in five years.'

Baylor students also seem confident the new opening will bring prosperity to all Waco doughnut stores.

'The Shipley's on campus is convenient,' Brad Rolf, Austin junior, said. 'People can stop in for breakfast or after class. But since it's only open during school hours anyway, I don't think it'll bring down their business.'

Harvel suggests that one of the most appealing parts of the Krispy Kreme company is the experience.

'I really like to watch how they make the doughnuts,' Rolf said.

Customers are able to watch every step of this doughnut-making process through the window called the doughnut theater.

'We get a lot of big eyes, and some 'oohs' and 'aahs,'' Harvel said. 'People are always inquisitive as to why and how something is made, and it's always interesting to see the process, as opposed to just the end product.'

On Feb. 7, Krispy Kreme will hold a kids day featuring face painting and doughnut decorating.

Krispy Kreme is hosting several college days, giving all university students the chance to visit the new location, with an offer of buying one dozen doughnuts and getting the second dozen for $.99.

'All the recent public activities have been a nice way to be welcomed to the neighborhood,' Harvel said. 'Waco people are really pumped.'