“We believe there’s a greater purpose in life than selling doughnuts,” says Jim Morgan. “During the past two years, we’ve committed to a new mission of taking this incredible product and brand and using it as an instrument through which to touch and enhance lives.”
Morgan is president, CEO and chairman of Krispy Kreme Doughnuts Inc., the Winston-Salem, N.C., company whose “Hot Doughnuts Now” sign tempts patrons in 18 countries. And if you think he’s feeding you a public relations line, think again. He is quite serious—and sincere—about Krispy Kreme’s ability to create goodwill in the world.
Case in point: Benjamin, a Tennessee 7-year-old who’d had a heart transplant as an infant, chose his local Krispy Kreme store as the place to celebrate what he called his “sixth heart birthday” on Feb. 26, 2009. When the store’s employees heard his story, they specially made heart-shaped doughnuts iced in red and delivered them to Benjamin’s class at school.
“From that point on, the store practically adopted him,” says Morgan, who personally corresponded with the boy. In February of this year, just after the company sent him a plaque naming him “Krispy Kreme’s Greatest Fan,” Benjamin passed away. Morgan keeps the thank-you letter from Benjamin’s mother in his briefcase.
“To have had somebody like Benjamin brought into our lives like that, to know about a life that was changed by a product—by a doughnut—is amazing. And strangely enough, I could tell you dozens of similar stories. Our brand is a thousand times bigger than our company. When people find out I’m associated with Krispy Kreme, their eyes light up. It’s a joy.”
© 2014 Vanderbilt University | Photography: WILL MCINTYRE
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