By Ed Brock
When told the Krispy Kreme doughnut shop in Riverdale would reopen on Sept. 23, Diana Ramirez and Risheka Allen actually jumped for joy.
As saleswomen for Auto Smith car lot across the street from the doughnut shop on Ga. Highway 85, Ramirez and Allen were regular customers before the Krispy Kreme closed for major renovations.
In fact, the old building was torn down and the new building is nearly finished.
"I'm just waiting for them to open. We want them so bad," said Ramirez, adding that she got doughnuts there every day. "I'm a coffee and doughnuts person in the morning."
Allen was a little less regular a customer.
"Maybe once a week I'd go get one," Allen said. "I had to watch my diet."
In May the original building that had stood on the corner of Highway 85 and Upper Riverdale Road since 1984 was demolished after regular customers covered the store's windows with farewell messages.
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.
On Wednesday, store manager Freida Carrington put the first numbers on the "countdown clock" until the new store opens on Sept. 23 at 5:30 a.m.
"It's beautiful. It's big. It's exciting," Carrington said about the new store.
At least six of the employees from the old store will return to work at the new location and Carrington is already interviewing and training people for the new store that will need 75 to 100 employees.
The new store will have a 24-hour drive-through window and will be able to produce about 230 dozen doughnuts an hour. The old store could produce 75 to 100 dozen doughnuts an hour.
"On Fridays and Saturdays we couldn't produce enough for the customers," Carrington said.
And those customers have been clamoring for the opening of the new store. They've been calling a special number the company set up to keep people updated on progress on the new store, Krispy Kreme spokeswoman Caroline Scorza said.
"More often than not they've been calling in with Krispy Kreme stories," Scorza said. "One woman said she met her husband there and she was so sad when it closed."
There will be a ribbon cutting at 9 a.m. on opening day and special events, including the giving away of Krispy Kreme boxer shorts, will be held in conjunction with the Evander Holyfield Foundation.
The following Saturday, Sept. 27, will be Kid's Day with face painting, clowns and more.
"That'll be a good time for people to come out with their families," Scorza said.
And up the road, officers with the Riverdale Police Department are also counting the days to the grand opening.
"We miss our Krispy Kreme," Riverdale Officer Debra Johnson said.