As the sky grew dark from the solar eclipse on August 21, 2017, the red “Hot Now” sign at the Krispy Kreme on Atlanta Highway in Athens, Georgia shined bright.
Thomas Sheridan drove thirty minutes from Crawford, Georgia to the Krispy Kreme location for their limited-edition, chocolate-covered eclipse donuts…only to find they ran out.
“I already want to preorder a dozen for the eclipse in 2024,” said Sheridan.
While Sheridan was upset he could not bring eclipse donuts to his fellow cat-loving friends in Crawford, he ended up walking away with six original glazed donuts for free.
“We were not going to let him walk out the door upset that he could not get what he came for, so we always do what it takes to make the customer happy,” said Miranda Stowe, Atlanta Highway Krispy Kreme manager.
Another customer, Jessica Wilson, faced pressure from her Oglethorpe County kindergarten teacher coworkers to bring the eclipse donuts to work.
“I work in Oglethorpe County and all the kindergarten teachers wanted doughnuts,” Wilson said. “They told me all about the blackout doughnuts, which I’ve never heard of, or solar eclipse doughnuts, and so they sent me because I live out here.”
All throughout Monday morning, customers piled into the Atlanta Highway Krispy Kreme. Customers inside the shop were standing single-file from the very back of the store. The drive-thru even wrapped around the restaurant, overflowing into the main road.
Andrea Lipford, another Krispy Kreme customer, arrived with the expectation of waiting in a long line.
“I’m not that surprised,” said Lipford. “I mean, I’ve already got my kids excited so I don’t think I can turn back now.”
For management, the long line of customers paid off. Stowe expressed how this promotion differed from the usual free or discounted promotions she has seen during her time as a manager. This time, the special chocolate-covered donuts sold at full price.
“This was the first time we had the sales amount match the volume we made,” said Stowe, “We got to see the payoff for the amount of volume we did.”
She explained how customers are usually disappointed when they come in on a normal day to ask for a chocolate iced hot donut. It is usually not possible to make them because the chocolate will cause the donut to collapse after being glazed.
“It is just such a soft product that it doesn’t translate that way,” Stowe said. “The fact that they could get this for once along with the chances that it could never happen again is I think what created the frenzy.
The Atlanta Highway shop ran out of eclipse donuts during the noon rush.
“It was chocolate insanity,” said Stowe.
Some customers had to fill their donut boxes with other glazed favorites.
“The promotion stated that it was only during hot light hours, and we had to make other stuff,” Stowe said. “We also produce for another store, so we had to make sure that they still had product and that they could still serve their customers.”
In light of lacking the eclipse-inspired doughnut, the customers kept coming and the shopkeepers kept serving with a smile.