ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - It was a raucous morning in Muldoon as Alaska's first Krispy Kreme store opened its doors to the public.
With more than 150 people lined up at 4 a.m. - some of them having camped there over the weekend - people of all ages got their tastes of the famous doughnut at Krispy Kreme Alaska's grand opening Tuesday morning.
But this isn't just another fun new restaurant for Alaskans to frequent. In an interview a day ahead of the grand opening, Bill Popp of the Anchorage Economic Development Corporation said Krispy Kreme and other new developments across town are a big piece of the puzzle when it comes to stimulating the local economy.
"Anchorage foodies are thrilled," said Popp, AEDC president, "and this helps us add another national presence in our economy.
"So this is just another positive step forward," he said.
Even for locally-owned businesses and those already operating in Anchorage, such as Dino's Donuts on 81st Ave. and Golden Donuts on Tudor Rd., the installation of new national chains can prove helpful when it comes to creating a competitive money market, according to Popp.
"Our premise is always that competition is good for the marketplace, no matter what business you're in," Popp said, "because it keeps you sharp.
"It not only makes for a more efficient business community, but a business community that's thinking harder about innovative ideas, new opportunities, ways to serve customers and new markets that have opened up thanks to competition," he said.
Plus, new businesses and developments do create jobs: Think of constructing the building, growing and buying ingredients, transporting goods and having in-store employees too, among other necessities. Even utilities and other costs contribute to the local economy.
"This is adding more jobs and more economic activity in the form of goods and materials to make the doughnuts, as well as the property tax base we just added," Popp said. "These investments add to the secondary economy of logistics, supplies, all of these things that are small incremental gains for our economy when we see new nameplate stores open up."
Though it doesn't replace all of the losses in major Alaska sectors, such as big oil, it does alleviate some of the pain.
"It's not an easy thing to break down in simplistic terms," Popp said of oil and gas employment decreases. "But we think we're past the worst of the layoffs at this point. That seems to be the direction we're getting out of the numbers.
"It's a mixed bag of tricks, but we're trying new strategies and new directions to grow the economy into a new future," he said.
As far as the new brick and mortar Krispy Kreme goes, the sugary madness started around a decade ago, when the idea of bringing the shop to Alaska was first proposed. However, as soon as the project really got off the ground, it was a short few months from development to opening.
The Muldoon Area has now transformed since the days of what was once an environmentally-hazardous trailer home park. The area around the new shop has been cleaned up, with developers Pfeffer Development even restoring a few of the waterways in the area, including running the Chester Creek Restoration Project.
A block party Monday night brought out crowds, but Tuesday morning is when the fun really began, with the official grand opening taking place at 5 a.m. The first 150 people in line got a t-shirt, but the first 100 received free doughnuts each month for a year.
The first person in line is set to receive a dozen doughnuts every week for the next 12 months, or 624 doughnuts over the next year.
Some even came to Krispy Kreme to share doughnuts with people across the state.
"We're really excited," said Matt Meade, an attorney for Chignik Lagoon Native Corp., one of the investors of the Krispy Kreme project. Meade will head to Chignik later Tuesday, armed with four-dozen Krispy Kreme doughnuts.
"It's a long flight, but it's a really big deal," he said. "It's the first time Chignik Lagoon has ever invested in a project like this, so all the directors are really excited, and the shareholders are, too."
A ribbon cutting ceremony, which will include a short presentation from Anchorage Mayor Ethan Berkowitz, is set for 10 a.m. Tuesday. There will also be prize drawings and doughnut giveaways throughout the day.
The new Krispy Kreme is located at the corner of DeBarr and Muldoon. Hours are 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.