The countdown ends at 5:30 this morning when the Johnson City Krispy Kreme Doughnut Factory opens its doors and rewards Daniel McKinney for being the first customer inside the new store with one dozen donuts a week for one year.
He will have earned it.
McKinney, 18, propped up his two-man tent at 1100 W. Market St. near the new store’s door on Sunday afternoon. He brought with him a propane stove, portable television, soft bedding — and an appetite.
“Why? Why?” he said while taking a break from playing cornhole Monday afternoon with some friends with boards supplied by the company. Yep, complete with donut holes.
“I love Krispy Kreme doughnuts a lot,” he said. “I haven’t left since I got here Sunday. I’m going to have lots of friends. I was going to do this when Chick-fil-A opened, but I didn’t know the start date.”
McKinney said he’ll be sharing the windfall with his friends and roommates at University Edge. Just as he made that statement, another couple of people hustled their tents over to the sidewalk.
So what time does McKinney usually wake up?
“Nine-ish — about nine-ish normally.”
By the very earliest hours this morning, Krispy Kreme will already have served many a donut. The next 12 — get it?, a dozen — people that entered behind McKinney will win a dozen doughnuts each month for a year. The next 12 will receive a dozen doughnuts each month for six months, and the occupants of the first 12 vehicles to lunge past the drive-thru window will get a dozen doughnuts a month for a year. The first 100 customers will be rewarded with a Krispy Kreme commemorative T-shirt.
The new store also will also host a ribbon cutting ceremony at 10 a.m. today featuring community leaders, Krispy Kreme staff and local dignitaries. Grand opening activities include prizes and samples of their tasty treats.
“We are extremely excited about bringing our delicious array of one-of-a-kind doughnuts and complementary beverages to Johnson City,” said Cindy Bay, Senior Vice President of US Franchises and Company Stores for Krispy Kreme. “We want everyone to join us at 5:30 a.m. as we flip the switch for the first time on our Hot Doughnuts Now sign, and throughout the day as we celebrate the joy of Krispy Kreme with our Johnson City fans.”
The approximately 3,200-square-foot factory shop, which now employs 60 local residents, will offer more than a dozen varieties of doughnuts. The Johnson City location brings a stand-alone Krispy Kreme store back to the Tri-Cities for the first time since March 2010, when a Kingsport franchise on Center Street closed and reopened as Seaver’s Bakery. At the time, the Kingsport store owners said they chose not to re-sign a franchise deal with the Winston-Salem-based doughnut company.
“We’re not open 24 hours, but we’ll be running production 24 hours a day,” said Ryan Wymer, the new store manager. “We’re glad to be back in Johnson City, and I think we’ll do really great business here.”
The new store is one of four new locations of Krispy Kreme being opened across the U.S. Other scheduled openings include Collingswood, N.J., Virginia Beach, Va., and Portsmouth, Va.
The new factory shop will offer more than a dozen varieties of Krispy Kreme’s one-of-a-kind doughnuts, including the signature hot Original Glazed, a complete menu of iced beverages and the new Krispy Kreme Signature Coffee Blends. Shop hours are Sunday-Saturday, 5:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. The lobby closes at 10 p.m.; the drive thru closes at 11 p.m.