Bethany Clough

Krispy Kreme opens Tuesday. Wanna guess how many will camp out?

Krispy Kreme opens at 5:30 a.m. Tuesday.

Those words will inspire people to line up, camp out and basically go bonkers over hot, freshly made glazed doughnuts.

The beloved doughnut shop has returned to Fresno (more on that history in a moment) at 5692 N. Blackstone Ave., between Bullard and Barstow avenues.

There is sure to be a crowd lined up the night before it opens. The first person in line gets a free dozen glazed doughnuts each week for a year. The next 99 get a free dozen doughnuts every month for a year and all 100 get a commemorative T-shirt.

“I assume because of the buzz around this opening that we will have all hundred people by 8 p.m.” the night before, said Lisa Hignite, senior operations manager for the company that owns this Krispy Kreme franchise.

Monday from 6-9 p.m., the business will have a DJ, raffle prizes and other giveaways.

Don’t be surprised if people set up tents. And yes, it’s supposed to get down to 38 degrees that night.

Krispy Kreme has a fanatical following of people who swear that doughnuts made under that “hot now” sign are some of the best they’ve ever tasted.

The Krispy Kreme drive-thru will be open 24 hours for the first four weeks. Whether it stays that way will depend on how busy it is.

And if you feel like you’ve witnessed this scene before, you’re right. Fresno once had a Krispy Kreme on north Blackstone Avenue in what is now Chick-fil-A.

Its 2001 opening drew a couple hundred people before its 5:30 a.m. opening, and the Fresno City Council proclaimed it “Krispy Kreme Day.”

But that excitement fizzled when the store closed in 2007, along with many other locations around that time, including the Visalia store that closed two years before.

At the time, a variety of factors were blamed: opening too many stores too fast, the popularity of low-carb diets, rival Dunkin’ Donuts cornering the market on good coffee, an inquiry about accounting issues and the proliferation of Krispy Kreme doughnuts in grocery stores and gas stations.

Things are different now.

Krispy Kreme itself has a new owner. Sales are climbing. It’s growing slowly and more deliberately than in the past. And the franchisee that owns the Fresno location is different than the one that owned the previous one.

Hignite, with franchisee WKS Restaurant Group, said she can’t talk about what went wrong with the previous franchisee.

But WKS has opened plenty of successful Krispy Kremes, she said.

“This will be our 30th location,” she said. “This isn’t our first store. We’ve been doing this a while.”

Bethany Clough: 559-441-6431, @BethanyClough

  Comments