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Krispy Kreme Doughnut Corporation

by Jay Mazzocchi, 2006; Revised December 2021

Cohen, Jeffrey L. 2008. "Krispy Kreme." Online at Flickr. Used under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.Krispy Kreme Doughnut Corporation was founded in Winston-Salem in 1937 by Vernon Rudolph. A few years earlier Rudolph’s uncle, a Paducah, Ky., storeowner, had purchased a secret yeast-raised doughnut recipe and the copyrighted name Krispy Kreme from New Orleans chef Joe LeBeau. The uncle hired Rudolph to sell doughnuts door-to-door, but soon Rudolph was looking for a way to sell on a larger scale. He and various family members subsequently opened shops in Nashville, Tenn., Charleston,W.Va., and Atlanta, Ga.

Rudolph eventually settled in Winston-Salem, where he and two partners began making Krispy Kreme doughnuts and selling them out of a 1936 Pontiac with a delivery rack in the back seat. As demand for his fresh doughnuts grew, Rudolph converted his doughnut-making facility in the Old Salem area into a retail store by cutting a hole in the wall and installing a sales window. In the 1940s and 1950s, the company standardized its product with central manufacturing of the Krispy Kreme mix, distributed to a growing network of doughnut and coffee shops, and invented and manufactured its own doughnut-making machinery. By the 1960s Krispy Kreme stores were visible throughout the Southeast with recognizable green-tiled roofs and glowing signs touting ‘‘Hot Doughnuts Now.’’ After Rudolph died in 1973, the company was reorganized for a 1976 sale to Beatrice Foods. A group of associates, early franchisees, bought the firm in 1982.

Krispy Kreme opened its first store in New York City in 1996 and its first in California in 1999. In April 2000 Krispy Kreme became a publicly traded company, and in December 2001 it opened a store in Toronto, Canada, one of 49 added that year. Despite store closings in Canada and controversy related to the company’s bookkeeping methods, by 2006 Krispy Kreme was selling a total of 2.7 billion doughnuts annually at nearly 400 locations.

In 1997 Krispy Kreme gained icon status when company artifacts were donated to the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History.

William Lewis Rudolph (known as Lewis), brother of Vernon Rudolph and Krispy Kreme co-founder, died on December 31, 2014 in Nashville, Tennessee at the age of 95.  Following incorporation of the company in 1947, Lewis Rudolph had served as vice president.


David A. Taylor, "Ring King," Smithsonian vol. 28, no. 12 (March 1998).

Additional Resources:

McGee, Jamie [The Tennessean, Nashville] "Lewis Rudolph, a Krispy Kreme founder, dies." December 31, 2014. Detriot Free Press. (January 2, 2014).

"Hot Doughnuts Now," Our State, December 2000.

Image credit:

Cohen, Jeffrey L. 2008. "Krispy Kreme." Online at Flickr: Accessed 11/2011.

Origin - location: 



I am very upset right now. No one to talk to and can't find customer service to make a complaint. Doubt I will get an answer from this site either. Don't blame it on the virus either for your incompetent service. I am a member of your Birthday Rewards Program. I forgot my password. I changed the password and when I try to sign in, it tells me the password is invalid. Today, 30 April, is the last day, I can receive the free dozen glazed donuts. I doubt I will ever see the free donuts.



This is not the Krispy Kreme website, but rather an encylopedia article about them. Their website is located at 

Erin Bradford, Government and Heritage Library


I was planning on buying your valentines donuts for the children on my bus. I did send in to corporate headquarters by way of your website on the 13th. It is now about 2 o’clock on Valentine’s Day and I have not heard a thing from anyone. I have children on my bus who have peanut Allergies and was requiring information in order to make my purchase. No one has returned any emails or notifications of any kind. I can only assume that you all are not allergy friendly and I cannot give my children on my school bus one of your donuts. I hope everyone reads this and realizes that corporate doesn’t really read their requests and will not get back with you so you cannot be sure of anything.


Thank you very much for taking the time to leave your comment. I suggest you reach out to the Krispy Kreme corporation at NCpedia is an encyclopedia on all things North Carolina hosted and maintained by the State Library of North Carolina. Good luck!


Kelly Eubank, Government and Heritage Library


I was at your restaurant at 11:47 last. night. I sat at drive thru several minutes then pulled up to window sat a few more. Finally got out tapped on window. A girl walked up never opened window never spoke. Made a hand gesture across her throat saying they're closed. I made sure that they closed at 12:00am before I drove. 17 miles one way. There were 8 cars sitting behind me in line. I sure wanted some of those chocolate glazed donuts. Now I have a whole month for some. I worked in fast foods for 21 yrs. if you close at 12:00 you're supposed to serve everyone until then and sometimes even later. I'm very disappointed in how I was treated.



I'm sorry you has such an ordeal, but I do want to inform you this is not the Krispy Kreme website and will not get your feedback from this site. This site is an online encyclopedia about North Carolina history and culture.

You can leave feedback for Krispy Kreme on their contact form at

Erin Bradford, Government and Heritage Library


When I was growing up in Scranton PA there was a Krispy Kreme shop (this was back in the early '60's) on Wyoming Avenue. Used to buy 7 or 8 doz and sell them for school projects. I didn't know it was a large chain as it was to my knowledge, the only donut place in town. Am curious as to when KK opened up in Scranton. Now that we have them in metro Phoenix so I only have to drive 20 minutes rather than fly 5 and a half hours.


Dear Mr. Snyder,

Thank you for your question about Krispy Kreme. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to determine when the store in Scranton opened. However, you may be able to find this out by contacting them directly via

Best of luck with your search.

Thank you.

Mike Millner, NC Government & Heritage Library


There's a new Krispy Kreme Donuts on Wesley Chapel in Decatur Georgia. Been there a little over a year now. On Grand Opening day the place busy both inside and out. Everyone was excited, I've praying for a Krispy Kreme in our area for years and graceful to have it, but as I was saying on grab opening day, the machine that makes the original Doughnuts was broken and seems like it has been once a week since then. I've gone inside hoping to see the machine rolling, but disappointed. Customers walking out in disgust, because it's happening too often. I would rather drive 25 miles to Highway 78 to hot doughnuts, because they're worth the drive. But I shouldn't have to drive that far when there's one right around the corner. Others are complaining too. Can you do anything to help? Thank you


Dear Starr,

Thank you for visiting NCpedia and sharing your comment. 

You visited an encyclopedia article about the Krispy Kreme company on North Carolina’s online encyclopedia, NCpedia.  We have no direct contact with the company, the subject of the article, and are unable to help with your question.

If you are interested in contacting the company, here is a link to their website:

I hope this helps.

Best wishes,

Kelly Agan, Government & Heritage Library


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