America's newest ``Hot Doughnuts Now'' sign will be lit at 5:30 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 19, as Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, Inc. (Nasdaq: KREM) arrive in Citrus Heights, bringing a young city with a bright future a sweet Southern treat.

Located across from Sunrise Mall on the corner of Greenback Lane and Sunrise Boulevard, the Citrus Heights store is the second Krispy Kreme in California's capital region and the fourth in Northern California. But for thousands of holiday shoppers, the store will be the first place to find hot and fresh doughnuts.

Also, Krispy Kreme in Citrus Heights will lend a helping hand to Santa by donating part of the first day's sales revenue to the Sacramento City Fire Reserves' annual Santa Run. Krispy Kreme's other three Northern California stores -- in Union City, Mountain View and on Arden Way in Sacramento -- will follow suit by donating a portion of their receipts that day to selected nonprofit groups in their home towns.

The Citrus Heights store will also introduce two new kinds of doughnuts to Northern Californians -- the Sugar Coated and Maple Iced doughnuts, both of which were very popular during test-marketing in Southern California.

``We're excited to join such a vibrant community and deeply appreciate the overwhelming support Krispy Kreme has received from people throughout the Sacramento community,'' said Brad Bruckman of Golden Gate Doughnuts, LLC, the licensed area developer for Krispy Kreme Doughnuts in Northern California.

Bruckman and his wife, Maria Bruckman, opened their first store in Union City last March, followed by stores in Mountain View and, in October, Sacramento. The Sacramento opening was a draw for overnight campers and thousands of people opening week. The grand opening of the Citrus Heights Krispy Kreme hopes to generate similar excitement.

``It's been the talk of the entire city,'' said Phil Pennington, a Citrus Heights resident, who grew up enjoying Krispy Kremes in his hometown of Akron, Ohio.

Area resident Al Straub, who lives in nearby Antelope, agreed. ``I think Krispy Kreme is going to add another dimension to Citrus Heights,'' Straub said of the city, which incorporated in 1996. ``And they're excellent doughnuts, too.''

But among area residents, few are probably as happy about Krispy Kreme's Citrus Heights debut as Antelope resident Tamara Robinson, who grew up in Mobile, Ala. Like many Southern transplants, Krispy Kremes became a fondly remembered and rarely enjoyed delight after she settled in California. Family members returning from visits home would bring Krispy Kremes back as carry-on luggage.

``If you came back to California without a couple dozen, you were in big trouble,'' said Robinson, who remembered fellow passengers trying to buy Krispy Kremes from her while in-flight.

Krispy Kremes were only a couple hours away after the first store opened in Union City, then 20 minutes away after Krispy Kreme opened in Sacramento. Now, Robinson and her family are just 10 minutes away from the nearest Krispy Kreme store.

``It's fantastic. We're very excited by Krispy Kreme's opening in Citrus Heights,'' Robinson said.

Like Krispy Kremes across the nation, the Citrus Heights store will feature drive-through service, lots of seating and a glass viewing area so guests can see the doughnuts actually being made. It will employ up to 150 people and offer fast, friendly counter service seven days a week.

Golden Gate Doughnuts plan to open more Krispy Kreme Doughnut stores in other valley communities, including Fresno and Modesto.

Founded in Winston-Salem, N.C., in 1937, Krispy Kreme quickly became a Southern tradition and today is expanding throughout the country. Krispy Kreme currently operates more than 170 stores in 28 states. An estimated 3.5 million Krispy Kreme doughnuts are made each day.

Krispy Kreme can be found on the World Wide Web at www.krispykreme.com.