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EASIER TO GET KREMED <br> THREE WILSON FARMS STORES IN BUFFALO, CLARENCE AND HAMBURG ARE NOW CARRYING KRISPY KREME DOUGHNUTS

Doughnut lovers who make the pilgrimage to Krispy Kreme on Niagara Falls Boulevard now have more locations to satisfy their cravings for the sugary doughnuts.

Three Wilson Farm convenience stores started selling the doughnuts Monday. In the first two days, the three stores sold about 5,000 doughnuts, a Krispy Kreme executive said. The stores are at Elmwood and Auburn avenues in Buffalo, Transit and Roll roads in Clarence and on Route 5 in Hamburg.

"Wilson Farms give us an opportunity to go into all the neighborhoods we can't get into now," said Christopher J. D'Angelo, vice president of Dynamic Doughnuts, the local company that owns the franchise rights to Krispy Kreme in upstate New York.

The popularity of Krispy Kreme has fueled a business phenomenon. When the store opened in Tonawanda last October, extra police officers were deployed to handle the traffic backups, a situation repeated across the country. The company's stock has split twice since being offered on the New York Stock Exchange in April 2000 for under $10. It closed Wednesday on the New York Stock Exchange at $36.66 a share.

Krispy Kreme sold Dynamic Doughnuts the rights to build only two stores in the Buffalo Niagara area. The first store opened last October on Niagara Falls Boulevard in the Town of Tonawanda, near the Boulevard Mall. A second store is scheduled to open early next year on Walden Avenue in Cheektowaga, near Borders Books and Music. The second store was supposed to be open by Thanksgiving, but easement problems caused a delay, D'Angelo said.

Wilson Farms is pleased with how hot the cold doughnuts have become. Selling the doughnuts has also boosted sales of milk and other items. More Wilson Farms stores will get Krispy Kreme displays in the future, but no specific locations have been chosen yet, said Jeff Babbush, category manager for the convenience store division of Tops Friendly Markets, which owns Wilson Farms. Eventually some Wilson Farms in the Rochester area will also sell the doughnuts.

In the last five years it has become common for convenience stores to sell other companies' food as a way to boost sales and traffic. Well-known food companies such as Tim Hortons and Blimpies like the idea of partnering with convenience stores, said James Calvin, president of the New York State Association of Convenience Stores.

"If you're building a new location, the bricks and mortar have a cost that can't always be recouped in a short period of time," he said. "Second, the best locations for a new doughnut shop or other store are already taken or extremely expensive. If your business strategy is to keep growing, partnering with a convenience store is an alternative."

As in its own stores, Krispy Kreme is exacting when it comes to quality and freshness. At Wilson Farms, the doughnuts are kept in a clear, lighted, self-serve display case made by Krispy Kreme. The company also delivers the doughnuts in a climate-controlled truck to make sure they are neither too hot or cold.

And unlike other convenience stores that order a few dozen that are gone by 10 a.m., Wilson Farms orders enough to stock the case into the evening.

"As long as the store is open, we want to be in stock," Babbush said. "Doughnuts have become an all-day product. It's not just for breakfast any more."

Wilson Farms buys the doughnuts wholesale, and pays delivery costs. The doughnuts are slightly more expensive than at the Krispy Kreme store on Niagara Falls Boulevard. At that store, each doughnut costs 60 cents or $4.49 for a dozen glazed or $4.99 for a dozen of assorted varieties. At Wilson Farms, the doughnuts cost 69 cents each or $5.99 for a dozen of any kind.

People couldn't wait until Monday to get their hands on the doughnuts. The Elmwood Avenue store hung a banner outside the store Friday advertising it had Krispy Kreme doughnuts.

"All weekend people came in asking where they were," said John Gindele, store manager. "And they lined up on Monday."

e-mail: lhaarlander@buffnews.com

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