ST. PAUL — Krispy Kreme Doughnuts took a bite out of a St. Paul college student’s plan to sell their product to hungry Minnesotans, telling him Thursday, Oct. 31, to cease all operations.
Less than a week after St. Paul Pioneer Press ran an article about his eight-hour road trips to Iowa to retrieve the doughnuts, Jayson Gonzalez received a phone call from Krispy Kreme’s Nebraska office ordering him to stop selling their doughnuts in Minnesota. All Krispy Kreme stores left Minnesota 11 years ago.
“I know they told one of the big managers in Nebraska directly, and he called me,” said Gonzalez, of Champlin. The company’s corporate office is in North Carolina. “He said corporate told him to ‘cease’ and ‘desist.’ ”
Krispy Kreme didn’t explain the move, but promised to investigate.
“We have become aware of Jayson’s situation, which involves one of our well-intended locations, and are looking into this,” the company said in a statement Sunday. “We appreciate Jayson’s passion for Krispy Kreme and his entrepreneurial spirit as he pursues his education.”
Gonzalez, also known as “The Donut Guy,” who would have made his 20th run to Iowa on Saturday, had to tell his thousands of Facebook followers the gig is up.
“I bear some bad news,” he posted on Halloween. “Unfortunately the run for this Saturday will not be taking place, as I have been told I have to shut down operations.”
Gonzalez was told his sales created a liability for the company, which has benefited from thousands of dollars paid by Minnesotans for the doughnut deliveries. Gonzalez bought the doughnuts out of his profits and did not receive a discount from the store in Clive, Iowa, that supplied them.
Each trip, he stuffed his Ford Focus full of up to 100 boxes of 12-count doughnuts, charging between $17 to $20 per box. Some customers spent nearly $100 each time he came through. They ponied up not only for the love of the uniquely glazed yeast confection, but because they liked the idea of helping an enterprising student pay his way through college at Metropolitan State University in St. Paul.
“Scrolling through all the comments has definitely been pretty upsetting with how frustrated everyone is,” he said.
Most customers expressed dismay at the news, having made plans with relatives and friends to enjoy the doughnuts. Others struggled to understand the logic of the decision and offered to start a petition. Several told him about the joy the doughnuts had brought them and thanked him for his efforts.
“Well just so you know one of the customers has cancer and you brought her amazing joy!” one customer wrote in the Facebook comments. “She was so happy to get her box and all the memories she had growing up came flooding back. I know to some people it’s just donuts but to her it wasn’t.”
Gonzalez said he didn’t plan to fight it, but will be looking for a new enterprise to help pay for college. The 21-year-old senior is studying accounting at Metropolitan State.
“Life happens, and it could be a sign that something else is meant to be,” he said.