Subscribe to Inc. This Morning, a daily news digest curated for those interested in entrepreneurship.
It was last month's entrepreneurial feel-good story: a student driving hundreds of miles weekly to buy Krispy Kreme doughnuts in Iowa so he could resell them to his poor, doughnut-less cohorts in Minnesota and pay for his college education.
Then, it was last week's corporate downer story: Krispy Kreme shut down the student's operation, despite not having any locations in Minnesota.
Don't worry. It's a feel-good story again. This week, in the wake of backlash, the doughnut company told 21-year-old Metropolitan State University student Jayson Gonzalez to get back on the road. What's more, Krispy Kreme is donating 500 dozen doughnuts to Gonzalez's cause, according to a company statement published on Twitter.
Before Krispy Kreme asked him to halt operations, Gonzalez had built a veritable mini-empire out of his 250-plus mile drives. He made 19 runs between Iowa and Minnesota in his Ford Focus, selling 100 $9.49 boxes per run for $17 to $20 each, according to the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Now, it appears he's ramping up operations with a GoFundMe page requesting funds for a vehicle upgrade. "I would ideally be looking to use the funds to get a used Sprinter Van, Large SUV, or Truck to increase that capacity to 200-300 dozens," the page reads. "I know a lot more people in Minnesota are going to want in on the weekly runs."
As of Thursday evening, Gonzalez's fundraiser had received $6,181 from more than 240 different donors. His entrepreneurial spirit is undeniable--and apparently a family trait, the Pioneer Press noted last month.
In the span of about two weeks, Krispy Kreme went from anti-entrepreneurial villain to veritable corporate hero. The decision the company made was smart on a number of levels: In exchange for 500 boxes of doughnuts, Krispy Kreme just turned around a sticky situation, gained a potentially valuable market research partner (the company left Minnesota in 2008--potentially due to growing "too big too fast," the Pioneer Press wrote), and earned itself some goodwill in the local community.
The lesson here: Spontaneous, effortless marketing opportunities don't come along very frequently. Learn to recognize them when they do.