The Krispy Kreme store at the intersection of 9th Avenue and Cervantes in Pensacola, Florida has been a historic landmark business for almost half a decade. The city’s best and worst, powerful and poor, elite and intelligent have all hit the brakes and sent the sound of squealing rubber throughout the neighborhood at the site of the Hot Donuts Now sign flashing in the window. All that is about to change, however, as the old building will be razed and a new one built in its place. (Is Esc. Co. School Supt. Jim Paul involved in this somehow; he loves needlessly tearing down buildings in order to create contracting jobs for his frien-for people.)
Krispy Kreme has long been a powerful force in this town, perhaps second only to Oscar’s Restaurant or The Coffee Cup. Krispy Kreme has watched other donut stores come and go-the attempt to introduce Dunkin’ Donuts to Pensacola in the early 90s was a failure almost on par with the Supreme Court appointing George W. Bush President. And the store itself was nearly as important to its success as the donuts.
It had a decidedly 1960s diner feel to it with spectacularly old-not retro, mind you, but old as in genuinely authentic-spinning counter stools. Those stools were sold in a silent auction this weekend-at least one of them topped the $250 mark. If you think that’s unbelievable, consider that the flashing neon sign informing people that a hot batch of donuts had just become available went for over a thousand dollars!
Still, it must be admitted by anyone that waiting in line for donuts inside the venerable Krispy Kreme store in Pensacola was anything but a pleasant experience during busy times. The customer area of the store is less than what you’d find inside your average Waffle House and the booths and stools were of limited quantity. During the holiday season or just about any early Saturday morning it wasn’t unusual to see the line extending outside. This Krispy Kreme was built back when Pensacola really was a small town; something it just isn’t anymore.
It’s not a bad thing that they are tearing it down to build a new one, but since they sold off all the accoutrement inside, it does seem likely that-given the store’s success and iconic status-another one could have been in addition to rather than in place of this one. While centrally located when it was built, this Krispy Kreme is-let there be no doubt-well out of the way of most Pensacolianiters today. Given the fact that this town is spreading eastward and northward as a result of running out of ground to its west, and given that the balance of the population lives at least twenty minutes away, it would have seemed to make only profound capitalistic sense to build a second Krispy Kreme and retain one of the few landmark businesses left in Pensacola-the Civic Center now stands where Pensacola’s greatest architectural structure of all time once stood, a drive-in ice cream restaurant in which the entrance was shaped like a huge milk bottle, (now all we’ve got are Sonics, bleecch!)-why not add instead of destroy?