College Student Overcomes Donut Barrier
BY BILL RUBIN, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Entrepreneurship is a tangled road filled with barriers as college student Jayson Gonzalez recently discovered. In a classic Little Guy versus Big Corporation, Gonzalez found himself crossways with the donut-maker, Krispy Kreme.
Jayson is a 21-year college student at Metro State University in St. Paul, Minnesota. College and financial struggles seem to go hand in hand. His goal is to graduate from Metro State debt free. But how?
If necessity is the mother of all inventions, then it’s a sweet tooth in Jayson’s case. Gonzalez developed a loyal customer base for Krispy Kreme donuts, which had closed its retail outlets in Minnesota 10+ years ago. The masses were willing to pay a premium for the donuts, so Jayson made weekly road trips to a suburban Ankey, Iowa Krispy Kreme shop and bought them in bulk. He did not receive a discount on his purchases and his 2008 Ford Focus carried as many as 100 boxes of the sweet delights. At a dozen donuts per box, Jayson the Entrepreneur crossed the Iowa-Minnesota state line in the name of commerce surrounded by 1,200 donuts.
Just like Business Planning 101, Jayson had expenses that included gas and food. They were offset by donut sales, said to range from $17 to $20 a box. Several news outlets reported a few customers paid almost $100 or over eight dollars per donut. They liked the donuts but loved helping a college student even more. To finish the Business Plan, Income less Expenses Equals Gross Profit. Debt free college appeared to be in reach. Go Jayson Go.
Oh, Oh. News coverage about Enterprising Jayson resulted in a fateful call from a Krispy Kreme regional office. He was told the bulk sale and transport of the donuts created a liability for the company. The terms ‘cease’ and ‘desist’ likely came up in the conversation. Rather than fight it, Gonzalez was said to be looking into new ways to pay for college. In short, the entrepreneurial spirit is an enduring one.
But wait, this story has a happy ending. The corporate-types at Krispy Kreme and Mr. Gonzalez recently announced a partnership to allow for the weekly trips to the Iowa store. Jayson will be become an independent contractor for Krispy Kreme. The corporate-types wanted to ensure their donuts maintained so-called high product quality standards as well as consistent delivery to Jayson’s customers in Minnesota. Sweeter yet, Krispy Kreme will donate 500 dozen donuts to Jayson as he jumps back in to the road trips. That’s 6,000 donuts!
The Little Guy and Big Corporation both come out as winners. Jayson keeps his debt-free college dream alive while Krispy Kreme gained an independent contractor and did not have to fight a public relations battle.
Maybe there’s a St. Croix Valley donut outlet in Jayson’s future? Let’s hope so. Here’s to a rising entrepreneur named Jayson Gonzalez.