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Oh Noes! I Can't Has Doughnuts!

By Peter Mavrik in Food on Sep 5, 2007 7:00PM

Winston-Salem, N.C., may have given their name to a couple of brands of cigarettes on the shelves today, but it's not their tobacco products we love most. It's their doughnuts.

In the late 1930's Krispy Kreme opened their first store in Old Salem and began hawking their yeasty crack-like confections that were the basis for the glazed doughnut we know, love, and will basically kill for today.

2007_09_krispy2.jpgThe company has had a rocky yet innovative history. In the 40's and 50's they invented, built, and distributed their own brand of both doughnut-making machinery and pre-made mix to their chain of stores. By the 60's they were pretty well known in many areas of the Southeast and put the finishing touches on their own brand. By 1976, with the company in some trouble, they were bought by Chicago-based Beatrice Foods. But in 1982 they were bought from Beatrice and became, once again, an independent corporation.

In 2000, we finally got the first Krispy Kreme in Chicago, and soon many stores started popping up all over the place, much to our delight. But growth of the company nationally was a bit too fast. Soon 17 of Chicago's stores closed, along with many others around the country. Cases of Chapter 11 bankruptcy sprang up everywhere except Chicago. Until now.

Sweet Traditions LLC, the Chicago franchise for Krispy Kreme based in St. Louis, has filed for Chapter 11. They also intend to close "about half" of their Chicago stores, cutting around 20% of their work force in the area. Maybe it has something to do with their trying to make their doughnuts healthier.

We're sad to see them dying in town, but happily we still have the Union Station location to purchase our quick fix from. And we'll continue to regularly purchase from them to insure we always have a supply on hand. However, should they consider taking that particular store away, we may have to revolt. Or make friends with someone in the Southeast and open a FedEx account....

Image courtesy of, edited by Peter Mavrik.