It all began with a college campus in desperate need of donuts, one undergrad’s vision and a rapidly aging Ford Focus. On weekends, Jayson Gonzalez transported boxes of donuts from a Krispy Kreme (NYSE: KKD) store in Clive, Iowa, 270 miles to Champlin, Minnesota, where the glazed treats had not been available for 11 years. He resold them for an extra $7 to $10 per dozen as a way to pay off his student loans.
The first report of Gonzalez’s endeavor was a piece in the St. Paul Pioneer Press, but when Krispy Kreme learned about the venture they sent him a letter to cease and desist. That detail in particular stirred the pot, and the story went viral. How could a big corporation step on the enterprising young student’s vision and initiative, especially when he was an avid fan of their product and was increasing their distribution? Several major media news outlets picked up on the story.
When FreightWaves’ “What The Truck?!?” podcast caught wind of the story, we considered whether it was a big or little deal on episode 123. It was a big deal! So, we reached out to the enterprising entrepreneur and interviewed him on episode 124.
How did it all begin? He was coaching a soccer team, and they had just played (and lost) in the championship. Gonzalez still had a reason to celebrate, and being a “Krispy Kreme fanatic,” he wanted to make a donut run before returning to campus. He said he “threw it out there on Facebook.” The response was staggering.
He had hundreds of responses by the next day (presumably a bit late for his post-championship run), but he quickly realized this endeavor had legs. By the second run, he thought, “This could be a legitimate business.” He set up a Facebook page dedicated to the Krispy Kreme donut run, and it went from zero to 3,300 followers between April and October. Gonzalez was making runs “every single weekend.”
By the time we caught up with Gonzalez on Nov. 8, the New York office of Krispy Kreme had already reached out. The COO called him up and said, “It was never our intent to shut you down. We just wanted to make sure you were delivering high-quality Krispy Kreme donuts and doing things the right way. We actually want to help you out.”
The senior vice president and an attorney hopped on the line, and they ended up working out a deal that as long as Gonzalez followed state and health regulations, he could continue his operation. In fact, they ended up donating 500 dozen donuts because they felt bad about the interruption to his business and his loss of revenue.
His next move involved expansion: He needed a bigger vehicle to deliver the donuts. His Facebook donut page was now up to 7,500 followers. Demand was growing.
He announced that he had set up a Go Fund Me page dedicated to the purchase of a van large enough to haul the hundreds of dozens of donuts he needed for delivery each week.
Fuller asked Gonzalez to speak at the FreightWaves LIVE event in Chicago on Nov. 12 about the difficulties of making interstate deliveries. Little did Gonzalez know about the special delivery that would be coming his way.
With the donation of the Freightliner Sprinter van, “you can now run thousands of donuts to the folks of Minnesota,” Fuller told a surprised Gonzalez, who called it his “Krispy Kreme mobile.” Humbled by the gift, Gonzalez later wrote on LinkedIn that it was “the best day of my life.”
On Tuesday, the van officially arrived.
“Today is a big day indeed!” Gonzalez said.
Now, he just needs to get the shelving installed over the weekend, and he’ll be ready to roll. Oh, he also has some paperwork to file. No one said it would be a cakewalk.