By Ed Brock
Sitting beneath a window bearing autographs from "Mike the Mailman" and "The Traditional Cake Guy" in the Krispy Kreme doughnut shop in Riverdale, Bill Walton was stoic about having to live without the place for the next three months.
"I think they have another one in West End, I think I'll go to that one," Walton said.
There is no substitute for Krispy Kreme as far as Walton is concerned, but in a matter of months he will be able to return to a much larger shop at the same location at Ga. Highway 85 and Upper Riverdale Road.
The "hot" doughnuts light will be turned off for the last time at 10 p.m. Sunday in the old store that has stood on the busy corner since 1984. The store will be bulldozed along with a building behind it that the company has bought.
It will be replaced with a 40 to 50 capacity "theater store" in which customers will be able to watch the doughnut-making process through large windows, Atlanta District Manager David Ellis said. The new building is scheduled to open in the fall.
Gwen Pryor has worked at the shop since it was opened and said she will miss the old building but is excited about the new one.
"It's going to be a new challenge, a new place and new ideas. That's good," Pryor said.
Most of the employees at the store have worked there for at least a year.
"We have a lot of fun," Pryor said.
In the week leading up to the store's closing customers have been invited to sign the windows, bidding farewell with quips like "Hot girls and hot doughnuts" and "The best is yet to come."
Those customers will also have a chance to take one of the two large, neon "hot" signs home if they pay $10 to enter a raffle for the signs. The money will go to Hearts to Nourish, Inc.
Going without the doughnuts will be tough, said James Byrd of Riverdale, but he's not surprised by the remodeling.
"Their stock's been doing good, they certainly can do it," Byrd said.
And Ellis said the Riverdale location is one of the company's best stores in the Atlanta area.
The closest other Krispy Kreme locations are at 295 Ponce de Leon Avenue in Atlanta and 633 Evans Street in West End.