ST. PAUL — After a whirlwind weekend of media attention, “The Donut Guy” is back in business.
Jayson Gonzalez, 21, of Champlin, Minn., said he has worked out a deal with Krispy Kreme Doughnuts that will allow him to sell their product in Minnesota.
“I am pumped to announce that I will be able to continue the business soon, and have the support of Krispy Kreme,” Gonzalez said in a Facebook post. “They want to ensure I become an independent operator and make sure the brand is represented well.”
Gonzalez had been running Krispy Kreme doughnuts from Iowa since April to sell to Minnesota customers to put himself through college at Metropolitan State University in St. Paul. On Thursday, the doughnut giant called him and told him to “cease and desist” for liability reasons.
Gonzalez’s 4,000 plus Facebook followers on his “Krispy Kreme Run Minnesota” page went ballistic. Some called or emailed the corporate offices. Others sought legal opinions for him or offered business advice for work-arounds. Several went over to Krispy Kreme’s Facebook page and let them know what they thought about the decision.
“Shame on you, Krispy Kreme,” said one poster named Mary Rogers. “I am definitely rethinking my Krispy Kreme devotion.”
Krispy Kreme hasn’t had a store in Minnesota in 11 years, but they still have fans willing to pay twice the regular price to Gonzalez, who drove a weekly eight-hour round trip to pick them up in Clive, Iowa, a suburb of Des Moines.
“Thanks to shutting down that enterprising student who was buying 100s of boxes each week from Iowa,” said another poster named Thorin Schmidt. “I’m not gonna buy any more of your donuts.”
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The news went national, and then international. Gonzalez said he’d gotten messages from all over the U.S. and even one from Singapore. Other media called. Radio stations wanted to interview him.
Late Sunday night, Krispy Kreme responded with two sentences they reposted over and over on Facebook to unhappy customers: “We’ve become aware of Jayson’s situation, which involves one of our well-intended shops, and are looking into this. We appreciate Jayson’s passion for Krispy Kreme and spirit as he pursues his education.”
On Monday, the company called Gonzalez and offered a sweet deal. He can continue as an independent operator, and to make up for his lost run, they would throw in 500 dozen free doughnuts.
“Our intent regarding the temporary stoppage of him selling doughnuts was to ensure product quality and regulatory compliance to protect both Jayson and Krispy Kreme,” the company said in a statement Monday. “Our main concern is that the doughnuts Jayson sells maintain our high product quality standards, given the distance and manner in which he is transporting and distributing them.”
The company also advised Gonzalez to comply with applicable state business laws. He said that would entail establishing himself as a limited liability company (LLC) and getting a retail mobile food license before delivering doughnuts again. The requirements could cost him nearly $500, he said.
Gonzalez’s fans couldn’t post enough celebratory GIFs and comments at the announcement, but now there was a new problem.
With all of the attention, his customer base has outgrown his Ford Focus. So, he’s hoping folks will help him get to the next step — purchasing a larger vehicle to transport up to 300 boxes. He’s taking donations on a GoFundMe page called “Krispy Kreme Vehicle Upgrade.”