Krispy Kreme opened its doors on July 13, 1937. Vernon Rudolph bought a secret yeast-raised doughnut recipe from a French chef from New Orleans, rented a building in what is now called historic Old Salem in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and sold Krispy Kreme doughnuts to local grocery stores. People began stopping by the shop to ask if they could buy hot doughnuts, so he cut a hole in the wall and started selling Hot Original Glazed doughnuts directly to customers.
By the 1940s and 1950s, there was a small chain of stores, mostly family owned. They all used the Krispy Kreme recipe, but each made their doughnuts from scratch. For Rudolph and Krispy Kreme, the results were always good, but not consistent enough. So Krispy Kreme built its own mix plant and developed a distribution system that delivered the perfect dry doughnut mix to each Krispy Kreme store. Krispy Kreme then invented and built its own doughnut-making equipment. From the 1950s on, Rudolph and his equipment engineers focused on improving and automating the doughnut-making process
During the 1960s, Krispy Kreme enjoyed steady growth throughout the Southeast and began expanding outside its traditional roots. The design of Krispy Kreme stores became consistent, including the hallmark green tile roofs and heritage road signs. Vernon Rudolph, the founder, died in 1973, and growth slowed as the company was reorganized for sale to Beatrice Foods Company in 1976.
In 1982, a small group of Associates bought Krispy Kreme back from Beatrice Foods. A renewed focus on the hot doughnut experience became a priority for the company. Krispy Kreme expanded outside the Southeast and opened its first store in New York City in 1996. Soon afterward, in 1999, the first store opened in California and national expansion was well underway. When Krispy Kreme turned 60 years old in 1997, Krispy Kreme’s place as a 20th century American icon was recognized by the donation of company artifacts to the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History. Krispy Kreme has opened over 1,000 stores globally and continues to expand each year.
KremeWorks became the area developer for Krispy Kreme in Washington, Oregon, Hawaii and British Columbia in 2001. Issaquah was the first location to open in the Pacific Northwest and was followed by nine other locations throughout the development territory.