Today Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, Inc. opened the doors to its first South Bay location - in Gardena. Residents from all over the Los Angeles-area lined up at 5:30 a.m. to see the lighting of the `hot light,' as it is known by Krispy Kreme fans. The "Hot Doughnuts Now" sign signals that Krispy Kreme Original Glazed Doughnuts are hot and ready to be eaten.

The new store is located at 1199 W. Artesia Blvd./(310) 532-5281. The store encompasses approximately 3,800 square feet of doughnut making and dining space and hosts 24-hour drive-thru service - seven days a week. Retail service is available from 5:30 a.m. to 11 p.m., Sunday through Thursday, and 5:30 a.m. to 1 a.m., Friday and Saturday.

"The response to Krispy Kreme in Southern California has been enormous," said Roger Glickman, president of Great Circle Family Foods, the Southern California franchisee of Krispy Kreme Doughnuts. "We are thrilled to open our seventh store in Gardena and share our melt-in-your-mouth doughnuts with the South Bay."

Krispy Kreme made its mark on Southern California last year, with the introduction of its La Habra store in January of 1999. Following that store, five additional stores have opened, Van Nuys, Orange, Ontario, Huntington Park and most recently, Long Beach. Southern California stores have sold more than 25 million doughnuts since January of 1999. Additional expansion plans for 2000 include stores in the Crenshaw-district, San Diego and Bakersfield.

"Krispy Kreme takes great pride in being an active member of each community," said Glickman. "Our new Gardena store has employed more than 100 local residents and plans to get involved with local youth and sports activities."

Strongly tied to the community, Krispy Kreme aims to help raise funds for local schools, churches and community organizations in every Southern California neighborhood hosting a Krispy Kreme store.

Great Circle Family Foods (GCFF), LLC, a Los Angeles-based company, is the exclusive franchisee for Krispy Kreme Doughnuts in Southern California. GCFF, recipient of the 2000 Krispy Kreme Area Developer of the Year Award, brings strong real estate development, food service and hands-on doughnut and retail expertise to the table.

Krispy Kreme Doughnuts was founded in Winston-Salem, North Carolina in 1937 and quickly became a Southern tradition. Today, Krispy Kreme has more than 150 stores in 27 states. An estimated 3.5 million Krispy Kreme doughnuts are sold every day and more than 1.3 billion are sold each year. For more information about Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, please visit our Web site at www.krispykreme.com.