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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Krispy Kreme's first day a sweet success

By Christie Wilson
Neighbor Island Editor

Nikole Patterson and Juan Obregon packed glazed doughnuts hot off the production line at the new Krispy Kreme store in Kahului, Maui, yesterday.

Christie Wilson • The Honolulu Advertiser

KAHULUI, Maui — A long line of cars and about 200 curious customers greeted yesterday's 5:30 a.m. opening of Hawai'i's only Krispy Kreme Doughnuts store and the crowd remained steady throughout the day.

At 6:30 p.m., 50 cars were waiting in the drive-through lane and 100 people were lined up to get into the 4,500-square-foot Kele Street store near Kahului Airport.

A final count wouldn't be known until midnight, but company officials last night estimated that more than 10,000 people would have passed through in the first 12 hours of the store's opening.

Ilima Pa'a'aina and four co-workers showed up around 8:30 a.m. after ending their night shift at Wal-Mart. They bought three of the $15.99 sampler packs, each with two dozen doughnuts.

"We never tried it before. I heard about it," Pa'a'aina said. "It's great. It melts in your mouth."

Hawai'i's enduring love affair with hot malassadas and its high number of tourists who may be more inclined to indulge while on vacation make the Islands a sure bet for the famed doughnut maker, said Gerard Centioli, president and CEO of ICON LLC/KremeWorks USA, the franchise holder for Washington, Oregon, Alaska, Hawai'i and British Columbia.

The company plans to open two shops on O'ahu within five years, although locations are not set. (Years ago, a business with a similar name opened a short-lived doughnut store in 'Aiea that was not associated with the Krispy Kreme corporation, which was founded in 1937 in Winston-Salem, N.C.)

Krispy Kreme has more than 320 stores worldwide that produce 7.5 million doughnuts daily.

The Maui store is open from 5 a.m. to midnight daily, with 24-hour drive-through service. It employs 125 workers.

Its two production lines, which can turn out 400 dozen doughnuts an hour, were operating at peak capacity yesterday to meet the first-day demand.

The line of customers waiting to get into the store was routed through a tent that provided shade and an opportunity to pick up a Krispy Kreme T-shirt or boxer shorts for $17.99 or an $8.99 mug.

Once inside, patrons could watch the doughnut-making process from behind a glass wall.

No one seemed to care that a single "Original Glazed" doughnut — 85 cents each or $7.99 a dozen — has 200 calories and 12 grams of fat.

Reach Christie Wilson at (808) 244-4880 or cwilson@honoluluadvertiser.com.