AUBURN — By the time they opened the doors at the new Krispy Kreme before dawn Monday, a bundled-up Joshua Fogg of Turner had been standing outside for 15 hours in temperatures that dipped below zero.

Fogg, the first guy in line, paused for a moment when asked why he shivered through a cold Maine night at the head of a line that consisted only of him and a few high school students until Walter Ward showed up at 4 a.m.

“I just wanted the doughnuts. Really that simple,” Fogg said.

Three high school seniors from Greene had an easy answer for their 12-hour vigil as well.

They camped out on lawn chairs in front of the Center Street shop because they wanted to prove to a teacher they could do it.

Paige Maheux said they’d had a long discussion in Morgan Clark’s Advanced World class at Leavitt Area High School recently about whether people would stake out spots in line when the Krispy Kreme opened. Clark expressed doubt the students could do it, she said.

“In spite of her, here we are,” she said.

For Maheux, Justin Cabral and Ryan Pratt, it was chilly and probably ridiculous, but also “a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” Pratt said.

When the doors opened at 6 a.m., Fogg got the chance to turn on the “Hot Now” light from an inside switch before getting a card that entitled him to a box of a dozen glazed doughnuts every week for a year.

At $9.99 a box, that may have made his wait worth it.

He said he enjoyed the glazed doughnut hot off the conveyor belt, which was just as good as he remembered them at a Florida Krispy Kreme more than a decade ago.

For Mary White of Auburn, who showed up shortly before the doors opened, memories of long-ago doughnuts in Virginia Beach were the big reason she made the short trip to the store opening.

“I didn’t lose much sleep,” she said, because she lives nearby.

White said that Krispy Kreme doughnuts were part of growing up near the naval base in Norfolk, Virginia, and were a frequent fixture for her family 35 years ago.

She said she wanted to get some to give her grandchildren so they could experience what real doughnuts ought to taste like.

“You’ve got to eat the glazed regular,” she said. “I don’t know what the secret is, but nothing tastes like a Krispy Kreme.”

Fogg said it matters that they’re fresh off the line and made on site.

“Nobody wants to have doughnuts off a truck,” he said.

Developer Cort Mendez, from NH Glazed LLC, was obviously enjoying the first minutes at his new store, the second Krispy Kreme to open in Maine. One in Saco opened last fall.

Throwing open the door after cutting two ribbons inside beforehand, a manager told the 50 people lined up in front: “I know you’re all cold and I know you’re all hungry.”

They quickly filed in and were soon munching on still-warm doughnuts.

“You never know what to expect,” Mendez said as he surveyed the crowd inside.

Mendez said he was grateful that Auburn officials had done so much to help him get the place open, more than a year after its original target date.

Maine as a whole, he said, has been great to Krispy Kreme.

“It’s been a joy to deal with the state of Maine,” Mendez said. “We’re excited about being here.”

Sue Audet, the company’s vice president of human resources and fundraising, said she hired 95 people to work at the new store. She said she’s thrilled so many “high quality” and “really, really nice” people sought employment with Krispy Kreme.

She said it proved easier to hire in Auburn than it’s been in Saco.

Audet said she’s also looking forward to working with groups in the Lewiston-Auburn area who are seeking to raise money. Krispy Kreme is known for its efforts to team up with local groups trying to pull in some cash for anything from uniforms to school trips.

But Monday morning, it was all about the doughnuts.

A giant conveyor belt that you can see through the front window dips the doughnuts into a fryer, flips them and then carries them through a wall of dripping white, sugary glaze. After that, they’re scooped up into boxes or added to the display case by the register.

For Mendez and the Krispy Kreme fans who rolled out of bed on a frigid morning Monday, the hope is that “Hot Now” light is going to be on pretty often for a long time to come.

Steve Collins can be contacted at:

[email protected]

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