At 4:30 a.m. on a Wednesday morning, there's not much going on along the 16th Street Mall. A guy standing at the intersection of 16th and Tremont Place is putting on deodorant, while a security guard peers out from a bank lobby into the darkness. But outside Denver's newest doughnut shop, the party's been going strong since nearly midnight. Krispy Kreme opens at 5 a.m. on the Republic Plaza, and these Denverites have arrived with the promise of free doughnuts.
The first in line staked his claim at 11:15 p.m. last night; his dedication will earn him a dozen free doughnuts a week for a year. The next 99 people behind him will receive a dozen a month for twelve months. Whether these people love Krispy Kreme or just want to get in on a whole lot of free food, it's clear that the North Carolina doughnut-maker hasn't lost its luster since first coming to Colorado in 2001, more than sixty years after it was founded in 1937.
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Denver has had to make do with two Krispy Kreme locations since then — one at 1051 East 120th Avenue in Thornton and another at 7514 East Parkway Drive in Lone Tree — and the Republic Plaza Krispy Kreme is the first within Denver city limits. Compare Colorado's measly three stores to the number in Mexico, which has over 100 Krispy Kreme outlets. And the company surpassed the thousand-store mark in 2015.
Still, for those in line this morning, there's nothing as sweet as a free box of doughnuts.