A second-year law student at Arizona State University, Adam Brown arrived at the new Krispy Kreme Doughnuts shop in Mesa about 8 a.m. on Monday to be first in line for the grand opening of the shop, nearly 24 hours before its doors opened for business.
And driving his white Ford F150 pick-up truck with two of his friends as his passengers and support, Cameron Farnsworth, 21, also of Mesa and a freshman at Mesa Community College, was the first customer at the drive-through window at Krispy Kreme by arriving at 2 p.m. on Monday with friends Daniela Agan and Tanner Goodman, more than 15 hours before the shop opened.
Brown, 25, and Farnsworth were among more than 200 people who had turned out for the store’s opening at West Main Street and Dobson Road along the light rail by 5:30 a.m. Many of them arrived the day and night before to be among the first 100 customers to receive a pretty good treat for camping out all night outside the store in what became a carnival-like and campground-like atmosphere during the shop’s 75th anniversary year: people sleeping in tents, bundled up in coats, playing board games and watching the Hunger Games on a large video screen as Krispy Kreme gave away prizes.
Most of them got there early enough to be among the first 100 people in line for the store or the first 24 at the drive-through window to receive a dozen free doughnuts for a year (every week for the first person in line inside and at the drive-through, and every month for everyone else).
From early Monday to early Tuesday, there were no doughnut holes barred as Krispy Kreme prepared to open just its third location in Arizona; Mesa now has two with the opening of the store on West Main and Scottsdale has the other at North Scottsdale Road and Shea Boulevard.
Amid television news vans and the Gold Mine radio station (90.7-FM and 92.7-FM) van speakers blaring out, "Today is free doughnut day! If you like jelly inside or chocolate applied ...," excitement began to mount.
And I was among those who arrived in time to be guaranteed free doughnuts each month for a year — braving the elements with the crowd, and often resting in my car throughout periods of the evening. I arrived about 8 p.m. on Monday to see if I would make the cut-off to get the doughnuts for the newsroom. I was 36th in line and got a free T-shirt to boot, marking the grand opening.
Although I am shying away from sugar-laden foods and drinks these days, I’m always one of the ones in the newsroom complaining that hardly anyone brings in food or treats anymore to share. So, I thought I’d be proactive about it. Hopefully, others will follow suit.
Although it made for a long night, it was the atmosphere and the reward, of course, that made it worthwhile.
Brown, an aspiring tax attorney, who said he doesn’t eat doughnuts on a regular basis, said he showed up just for the free doughnuts and will share them with his family and friends. He said he’ll take the first dozen home and share them with his wife, Melanie, and his daughters, Autumn, 2, and Maggie, 8 months.
"It was worth the wait," Brown said as workers were preparing to open the doors for business. "It’s been fun. I’ve been studying and slept a couple of hours. I’m a little cold, but no complaints on my part."
But is there any law that Brown knows of having to pay taxes on the doughnuts?
"If it’s a prize, I’ll have to pay taxes, but if it’s a gift, I don’t," said Brown who was eating a plate full of Hawaiian haystacks (rice with cream of chicken salad) and studying for his final in criminal procedure.
Cameron Farnsworth, who said he had only eaten doughnuts "sparingly," but now will eat them at least once a week said, "I’m really competitive. When I found out they were having this through a friend who was serving as an ambassador to get the word out on the shop’s grand opening festivities, I had to do it for the doughnuts."
David Stock, who was second in line for the store, and his friend, Daniel Farnsworth, who was third, played Halo IV on an XBox outside.
"You can’t beat a Krispy Kreme doughnut," Daniel Farnsworth said. "Fresh off the mill, they just melt in your mouth."
Brian English, 41, of Mesa, was second in line at the drive-through window.
The winners can use their card at any Krispy Kreme to redeem their free doughnuts through the year.
Plans are moving forward to open at least two new Krispy Kremes in Phoenix — one along Bell Road near State Route 51 and another at Indian School Road and 30th Avenue next year, marking the return of the doughnut eatery to Phoenix, said Paul Tanner, director of development for Hot Glazed Enchantment, the company that oversees North Carolina-based Krispy Kreme.
There had been about 11 Krispy Kremes in Phoenix until August 2011, but its former franchisee closed them after deciding to pursue Cajun and Louisiana-style restaurants, Tanner said.
The new Krispy Kreme employs 20, both full-time and part-time, and is always taking applications.
"Omigosh," Jason Sanson, director of operations for the franchise said of the crowd snaking out the door. "It’s fantastic. Everyone loves doughnuts. This shows you that Krispy Kreme can be gone and come back and be popular."
And yes, fresh and hot off the mill, the doughnuts did melt in your mouth.
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