Krispy Kreme coming (Winnipeg Free Press)

January 16, 2023

Famous doughnut chain set to sweeten Seasons
By: Gabrielle Piché Posted: 7:00 PM CST Monday, Jan. 16, 2023

Krispy Kreme is ready to sweeten up Winnipeg.

The global doughnut chain plans to churn out sugary treats in the city within the next 12 to18 months. “We’re just excited to bring the brand to a new place,” said Levi Hetrick, Krispy Kreme Canada’s chief growth officer. “It seemed like a fantastic location.”

Shovels could hit the ground — across from IKEA, near IG Wealth Management off Sterling Lyon Parkway — this summer, Hetrick said. Prepare for a “doughnut theatre.” Krispy Kreme gained fame, in part, by showing customer sits doughnut-making process. Winnipeg will be no different.

The sweet snacks travel along a 12-metre production line, which includes a glaze waterfall. Manitobans will be able to pull up a chair and eat in the building’s dine-in section. Classic glazed doughnuts and coffees are on the menu, the same as Krispy Kreme’s Ontario and Quebec locations.

However, Winnipeg will stand out: it will tout the first ever new prototype for Krispy Kreme Canada in around 16 years, according to Hetrick. This means a different building aesthetic than other Canadian doughnut shops. The concept is currently being planned, but it will be similar to newer United States models, Hetrick said.

Not all doughnuts will remain on site, Hetrick noted. The company is looking to wholesale the sweet snacks to places such as Costco or Walmart, or at smaller cafes in the city. “Everything will come out of this one hub,” Hetrick said of the Seasons location. Its doughnut line can produce about 220 dozen treats an hour, he said. Krispy Kreme runs production between 14 and 22 hours per day. “We expect it’ll be pretty busy,” Hetrick said.

Krispy Kreme has kept an eye on the city for a while but settled on the south Winnipeg spot around eight months ago. “We’re not trying to open thousands and thousands of locations, or even hundreds,” Hetrick said. “We want to make one really good investment and then see how it goes.” The brand fared well during lockdown phases of the pandemic, he noted.

In 2020, people in Mississauga, Ont. waited in hours-long lineups for their 12-pack of doughnuts. Krispy Kreme reported year-over-year net revenue growth of 10.1 per cent — to $377.5million — globally in 2022’s third quarter. Canadian sales increased 18.4 per cent, to $4.5million, during the same period.

Winnipeg is often seen as a test case for businesses looking to expand further west, according to Fletcher Baragar, a University of Manitoba economics professor. He called Winnipeg a logical fit for Krispy Kreme. The population is growing, Manitoba has recently seen record-breaking low unemployment rates and high employment rates, and it’s “a relatively low income, low wage province,”Baragar said. These are things businesses might look for in a market, he added.

Krispy Kreme wants to expand west, Hetrick noted. Edmonton and Vancouver are on the radar. But first, the roughly 4,000 to 5,000 square foot shop in Winnipeg’s Seasons development. “We’re very excited to welcome them,” said Blair Forster, president of Forster Harvard Development Corp., which owns the site.

More than 100,000 vehicles drive through the intersection of Sterling Lyon Parkway and Kenaston Boulevard daily, a Seasons report shows. The traffic, plus the existing businesses nearby, drew Krispy Kreme to the area, Hetrick said.

“We’re on a trend to be viewed as the entry point in Winnipeg for most new concepts,” Forster declared. St. Louis Bar & Grill is en route to opening its first Winnipeg sports bar in Seasons. Arby’s, which closed its last Winnipeg restaurant in 2020, has a strong interest in a Seasons development, Forster said. IHOP and Earl of Sandwich are two new-to-Manitoba eateries in the vicinity.

Seasons — which encompasses Outlet Collection Winnipeg and the surrounding businesses north of Sterling Lyon Parkway — began construction in 2014. If the pace continues, development should be finished in the next three years, Forster said.

Tunde Dada brought Red Wing Shoes to Seasons because of the customer base and visibility. Having Krispy Kreme nearby is positive news, he said. “Anything that brings more business to the area is good,” he noted, adding the construction crew could stop in for a pair of work boots.

Georgie Winsworth’s team has about 150 doughnuts on their agenda. “I guarantee that we will be there — top clients,” said Winsworth, who works for IG Wealth Management. The company buys monthly treats for its staff. Walking across the parking lot will be ideal, Winsworth said.

For Janchester Amante, Krispy Kreme conjures memories of family visits to the Philippines. “It hits home,” Amante said, reminiscing on variety packs he delved into. The new shop will bring a slice of America to Winnipeg, noted Jenelle Kohanchuk, who tried the desserts in Florida and New England. “I feel like Winnipeg’s becoming more of a foodie city,” she said. “It’s good to just have more options.”

Krispy Kreme, which first opened in North Carolina in 1937, can be found in at least 30 countries.