When Krispy Kreme announced their 80th birthday celebration included giving away a dozen donuts for 80 cents for each dozen customers purchased, who could have imagined that the celebration would clog highways across the nation? The Acumen team journeyed to Fairfax, Virginia, to the a central location on Jefferson Davis Highway -- a major and often busy highway that connects Northern Virginia to areas more regionally south, including Richmond. Many customers found the line blocking one lane of traffic and snaking the equivalent of two city blocks, was a bit too much to manage; however, that did not stop them from parking on adjacent store lots and playing Frogger across six lanes of traffic -- with kids in tow -- to get into the store's lobby.
Once inside, and with only inches of room through which to maneuver, the amazing smell of fresh cooked donuts, calmed the waters! The light STAYED on! Some folks we spoke with said they had been in line for up to thirty minutes, yet had no intentions of budging!
Krispy Kreme was born July 13, 1937, after Vernon Rudolph bought a secret yeast-raised doughnut recipe from a New Orleans French chef, rented a building in what is now historic Old Salem in Winston-Salem, NC, and began selling Krispy Kreme doughnuts to local grocery stores. The rest, as they say, is history.
"Krispy Kreme is a treat any day of the week and any time of the day," Leigh Hightower told Acumen. "When you make an entire dozen of them -- fresh out of the oven -- only 80 cents, you can expect this type of reaction. I would wait as long as I had to get them."
Hightower was among the thousands of customers who traveled from D.C. into Virginia especially for the Birthday sale.
Mike Terrell, a Washingtonian from Ward 7, said he picked his three sons up early from camp to beat rush hour traffic and an impending torrential rain storm, to ensure he was able to pick up a few dozen.
"These donuts were such a part of my childhood that just the smell of them makes me smile. They remind me of cold, winter mornings when my mother was working out of town and Dad was left in charge. He was always late in the morning and pressed for time and instead of cooking oatmeal like Mom said, would get us breakfast from Krispy Kreme. I think sometimes we made him late on purpose just so we could stop," Terrell told Acumen. "It was our little secret and one I am happy to share with my sons."
So from hoarding them to freeze and eat later, to trying to gain weight and sneaking them in pass Mom, Krispy Kreme's thousands found a reason to make it a wonderful birthday for the shop.
Happy Birthday Krispy Kreme!