Krispy Kreme breaks ground for Tacoma location

It was a sweet welcome to Tacoma for Krispy Kreme Tuesday morning, as the famous doughnut outlet broke ground on its fifth Washington state location.

City and county leaders joined Krispy Kreme officials and several hundred members of the public at the construction site, located in the lot of the recently demolished Tacoma Mall Theater.

Mayor Bill Baarsma, no stranger to attending a string of groundbreaking and grand opening events in Tacoma recently, tweaked his by now familiar mantra, saying, “Are we on a doughnut in Tacoma, or what?” (Instead of “Are we on a roll in Tacoma, or what?” Get it?)

Baarsma continued: “Now this groundbreaking is a big deal for Tacoma.”

He spoke to the crowd about the effect the store will have on the local economy, saying it will add new jobs and tax revenue to the area. It will also add calories, the mayor joked.

A Krispy Kreme says something to other companies looking at the Tacoma market, Baarsma said, adding the city is looking to continue to attract top-tier retail and restaurant establishments.

Baarsma noted the “cool” factor that comes with being home to a Krispy Kreme location.

“Having a Krispy Kreme in your neighborhood means you have arrived,” he said. “We welcome Krispy Kreme to Tacoma!”

And what a welcome it was, as members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, District 4 color guard presented the American and Washington state flags.

Eight children from the Lakewood Boys & Girls Club took shovels in hand and had the honor of tossing the dirt, which in actuality was thick mud.

Even the weather cooperated, with the gray clouds clearing away and the sun shining just before the ceremony began at around 10 a.m.

Following the groundbreaking, Krispy Kreme officials unveiled a giant sign counting down the days left – 126 as of Tuesday – until Tacoma residents can enjoy the world famous hot doughnuts that practically melt in your mouth.

“We are delighted to be bringing the hot doughnut experience to more people in Washington,” said Gerard Centioli, president and CEO of the Northwest Krispy Kreme Doughnut franchise. “We received a warm response when we opened our first Washington location in Issaquah in 2001 and are looking forward to becoming an active member of the Tacoma community.”

When the Krispy Kreme in Issaquah opened in October 2001, the location was immediately swamped, resulting in long lines and traffic snarls.

Centioli, a Northwest native who grew up in the Puget Sound, said this was the first Krispy Kreme store in Pierce County, adding he was thrilled to be bringing an outlet to Tacoma.

Plans call for a 4,400-square-foot structure which can best be described as a small doughnut factory and retail outlet.

The building will include a glass viewing area to allow customers to watch the doughnuts being made.

In addition, the Tacoma Krispy Kreme location will offer a 24-hour drive-thru service and guest seating.

Like other Krispy Kreme locations throughout the nation, the Tacoma Mall store will feature the traditional “Hot Doughnuts Now” sign.

When illuminated, the red neon sign signals to customers that Krispy Kreme is making batches of its fresh doughnuts.

Doughnuts won’t be the only thing hungry customers can buy at the Tacoma location, as coffee will also be available for sale.

Following the conclusion of Tuesday’s groundbreaking ceremony, a crowd of people rushed the counter to get free doughnuts that were being handed out.

Krispy Kreme was founded in 1937 in Winstom-Salem, North Carolina, and describes itself as a leading branded specialty retailer of premium quality doughnuts, including the company’s signature Hot Original Glazed.

Krispy Kreme currently operates more than 255 stores in 37 states and Canada.

An estimated 5.5 million Krispy Kreme doughnuts are made every day and more than 2.7 billion are produced each year.

The Tacoma Mall Krispy Kreme is located at 4302 Tacoma Mall Blvd., and is scheduled to open in June.