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As far as chains go, Krispy Kreme is just about impossible to dislike. Forged largely on the back of a single item — the legendary Original Glazed Doughnut — the chain has managed to retain its cult-like following even though it has more than 1,000 locations worldwide. But even if it’s physically impossible for you to pass up a visit when the “hot light” is on, we bet that there’s a lot you didn’t know about this popular doughnut chain.
Krispy Kreme was founded by 22 year-old Vernon Rudolph in the middle of the Great Depression. Rudolph’s uncle, Ishmael, ran a general store in Paducah, Kentucky, that became popular for its doughnuts, and Rudolph began working for him in 1933. The following year they closed up shop and opened a doughnuts-only shop in Nashville, and it became so popular that Vernon’s father, Plumie, moved to Nashville to help run the place. In 1937 Vernon decided to strike out on his own, took his uncle’s doughnut recipe, and set up shop on South Main Street in what’s now historic Old Salem in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. He commissioned local architect Benny Dinkins to design the now-famous logo, and the shop was an immediate hit.
Krispy Kreme continued its expansion throughout the years, really picking up speed in the 1950s. It remained largely a regional Southeastern chain until another major expansion in the 1990s, and in 2001 it opened its first international location just outside of Toronto. Today, there are locations in countries as far-flung as the United Kingdom, Australia, Lebanon, Kuwait, Taiwan, Thailand, Saudi Arabia, and Ethiopia.
Nowadays, Krispy Kreme sells doughnuts and doughnut holes in dozens of varieties along with coffee, soft drinks, and soft-serve ice cream at select locations. The company is experimenting with bagels at seven locations in Tampa, Omaha, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware; and some groceries sell Krispy Kreme-branded doughnuts, pies, Danishes, and honey buns. In a marketplace increasingly dominated by the likes of Dunkin’ Donuts and Tim Hortons, which seem to be favoring savory options instead of doughnuts these days, Krispy Kreme is sticking to what it does best — doughnuts — and its success can’t be denied. Read on for 15 things you didn’t know about Krispy Kreme.