After years of anticipation and rumors, Anchorage's first Krispy Kreme is set to open early Tuesday, bringing with it eager doughnut fans who have long awaited its arrival.
On Monday afternoon, about 50 people — some of whom took off work or skipped school — were already in line with plans to camp out overnight for the opening of the national franchise and the promise of a year of free doughnuts for the first 100 people through the doors. The new store, set to open in a building that also houses a BurgerFi restaurant and a yet-to-open Body Renew gym, marks the first Krispy Kreme in Alaska.
"I've been here 14 years, so I've missed it for 14 years," said Bo Stone, a 22-year-old elementary education student at the University of Alaska Anchorage and self-described "Army brat" who grew up in the South.
Stone ended up missing his first day of classes to camp outside as the seventh person to get doughnuts at the East Anchorage location. He said he cleared it ahead of time with his teachers, promising them "at least two" doughnuts when he returned.
"It's worth it," he said.
Sherdan Williams, 67, stood in the shade of the new building while waiting with her daughter, Novella Johnson. Williams moved to Alaska in 1995 after living in both Florida and Georgia. She said she's been eating the doughnuts her whole life, since they were 5 cents apiece, and that she raised her nine children on them.
But living in Alaska made getting access to the doughnuts difficult. She would sometimes purchase them as part of fundraisers for football teams or church youth groups, but those were never as satisfying as getting a fresh one. She said the Tuesday opening was a "long time coming."
"We'll never have to buy a doughnut off the back of a U-Haul truck again," she said.
Others had different reasons for waiting Monday afternoon. Bradley Honaker, 21, was the first in line, after setting up his tent and folding chair at 3 p.m. Sunday afternoon.
Honaker, a UAA student studying computer science, played on his phone and watched movies on his laptop as he sat in the sun Monday in anticipation of the opening, still more than 12 hours away. He wore a camouflage baseball cap with a Krispy Kreme logo on it.
Honaker, of Anchorage, has had Krispy Kreme in California several times. He's a fan of them, but more excited about winning a dozen free glazed doughnuts a week for a year — his reward as the first person in line.
"It's a lot of doughnuts," he said.
Sisters Robin Lafond and Sherry Kelly were the third and fourth in line, having arrived to camp out Sunday night along with Kelly's 4-year-old golden retriever, Moose.
Lafond is a bigger fan of the doughnuts, but Kelly was still looking forward to being one of 99 people to get a dozen free glazed doughnuts once a month for a year.
"I'm not going to share with anybody," she said, sitting in her tent on the sidewalk.
Her sister, Lafond, couldn't wait. She's a big fan of the fresh glazed doughnut that just "melts in your mouth," she said.
"It just sucks you in," she said of fresh doughnuts. "I'll definitely share mine."