Krispy Kreme Doughnuts is celebrating its 75th birthday today. That perfectly round original glazed doughnut was born in Winston-Salem and that's where its headquarters remains. Leoneda Inge visited Krispy Kreme workers and fans who say the company's longevity is directly related to its family atmosphere and dedication to the Krispy Kreme brand.
Leoneda Inge: Krispy Kreme has been serenaded, mocked, and adored by people all over the world - just check out YouTube.
The Krispy Kreme doughnut and coffee shop on South Stratford Road in Winston-Salem is one of the busiest in the country.
All of the original glazed, chocolate dipped and sprinkled doughnuts made in this store are sold right here.
Brody Bowen: From the time we start with the dry mix to the time that finished doughnut hits that line and that customer gets that hot original glazed, it's a one hour process.
Brody Bowen manages the South Stratford store. He says their shop runs like a well-glazed machine because of people like James Long - his production trainer who has been with the company 34 years.
Inge: What makes a good production worker for Krispy Kreme?
James Long: We have like, you have your Bibles for church, well we got our Bible we have out here on the floor that we use. As long as you can run all the materials like it supposed to be, you don't have no problem. Like right now, I'm training people right now to be managers some day. I done trained millionaires back here on how to make doughnuts.
When Long was a boy, he remembers meeting Vernon Rudolph, the genius behind this 75 year old company. The story goes Rudolph bought his secret "yeast-raised" doughnut recipe from a New Orleans French chef. The plan was to sell the doughnuts to grocery stores but the sweet scent of the doughnuts was so intoxicating, people would just walk up to his shop and ask to buy them right now hot. And I that explains the famous Krispy Kreme "Hot Doughnuts Now" light outside its stores. But the past decade has been quite lumpy for the popular doughnut company. It opened too many stores too fast and ended up closing some. Franchise owners sued. Krispy Kreme shares that were going for 50-dollars had dropped to two-dollars. Dwyane Chambers is the Chief Marketing Officer for Krispy Kreme. He says that's not the picture today.
Dwyane Chambers: Where we are today is probably a better place than we've ever been and the other point is we get sustained because people loved us.
And that love is world-wide. Krispy Kreme now has about 700 stores in 21 countries, with stores opening in Russia and India soon and re-opening in some US cities. On this day at the Krispy Kreme on University Parkway, a newly restored 1960 Flexible Starliner is in the parking lot tricked-out with everything Krispy Kreme. It's part of the company's 75th birthday tour across the nation. Amanda Hayes just spun the game wheel to win a prize. Hayes says she can't pass up Krispy Kreme Doughnut.
Inge: Why do you keep doing this? So why do you like them so much?
Amanda Hayes: Because they're addictive! Like a drug!
They say one Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut is only 200 calories. And in case you have the urge, there's an APP that tells you when the hot light is on anywhere in the country.