You wouldn’t have believed this in 2004: Free doughnuts at Krispy Kreme

It’s hard to believe that it was 14 years ago this summer that Krispy Kreme turned much of New England into a frenzy when it opened its first store in the region, at Wellington Circle in Medford (or as we like to call it, “MED-fid”).

For many in New England, it was about time. We had been missing out. Missing out on what was seemingly the biggest craze since the Dutch tulip bubble of 1637.

All for a glazed doughnut.

The fad came and went, as all fads do. And sadly, so did most of the New England Krispy Kreme stores (one remains, at the Mohecan Sun in Uncasville, Conn., and a half-dozen or so more are planned in New Hampshire and Maine in the next year). The chain’s aptly-named CEO, Scott Livengood, retired in 2005, and just last year, Krispy Kreme was taken private.

So you’ll forgive the irony that comes with the announcement that starting today, and running through the end of this month, Winston-Salem, N.C.-based Kripsy Kreme is offering a free doughnut for anyone who buys a coffee. The company recently revamped its coffee, and to tempt customers into giving it a taste the chain is tossing in the free doughnut with every purchase.

The same doughnut that was treated as gold just over a decade ago.

Oh, how times have changed.

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