Krispy Kreme Doughnuts Inc. employees could learn this week whether they will be part of the company’s increased presence in Charlotte, stay here or potentially be out of work.
Employees will be given until Dec. 13 to decide whether to accept the transfer, according to current and former employees.
Sarah Roof Garling, a spokeswoman for Krispy Kreme, said Monday the company had no comment about the possible layoffs or the move to Charlotte.
Krispy Kreme has been privately held since July 2016 when it was bought for $1.35 billion by JAB Beech, a subsidiary of German private-investment group JAB Holdings Inc.
When JAB Beech bought Krispy Kreme, it pledged to retain local management, the local headquarters and the local workforce.
The Journal reported Oct. 27 that the company is considering moving its headquarters to Charlotte.
The company has been based in Winston-Salem since being founded by Vernon Rudolph in Old Salem on July 1937.
The sources say a potential move to Charlotte would be part of an overall JAB effort to raise Krispy Kreme’s profile as a premium brand.
Garling said in October that time the company is “maintaining Krispy Kreme’s global headquarters in Winston-Salem, the birthplace of the company, as we deeply value our heritage and attachment to this area.”
“As we seek to best position the business and our team for long-term success, we will also expand our presence to new cities,” including Charlotte, she said. Garling has since declined to say what Krispy Kreme’s Charlotte presence would look like.
Spurring part of the speculation is news that the company’s chief executive of the past 17 months, Mike Tattersfield, and his wife, Christine, spent $1.37 million to buy a house off Lake Norman in Cornelius, according to real-estate records.
Garling said Oct. 31 that “we have no comment on either topic at this time” when asked about the Tatterfields’ house purchase or talk that employees have been told about future operational plans.
Sources have since told the Journal that senior management, marketing, information technology and design headquarter employees would be among those moving to Charlotte, while finance and other headquarters would be moving to a smaller space in Winston-Salem.
Employees affiliated with Krispy Kreme’s international business are expected to move to the company’s operations in the United Kingdom.
Krispy Kreme has 150 employees at its Knollwood Street headquarters, and 554 employees overall in Forsyth County, according to the latest workforce total the company provided to the Winston-Salem Chamber of Commerce.
Sources say the company has not decided whether to close its Ivy Avenue production plant or its equipment production facility off U.S. 311.
Winston-Salem Mayor Allen Joines said Oct. 27 that he spoke with Tattersfield after hearing rumors about the headquarters.
“He assured me that the headquarters will remain in Winston-Salem,” Joines said. “I asked him directly if I could make that statement to the press and he said, ‘Absolutely.’ ”
Joines said last month that Tattersfield indicated the company would require less space in Winston-Salem as part of establishing a presence in Charlotte. He said Tattersfield mentioned the possibility of creating a company museum at whatever new site it takes in Winston-Salem.
“We told him we would be happy to work with them on whatever issues they have, and he said he would give us that chance, particularly with the new space needs,” Joines said.
Joines said he has heard, and sources have told the Journal, that Krispy Kreme is saying it is struggling to find skilled workers in Winston-Salem, and that some officials new to the company say Winston-Salem is proving to be a challenge to recruiting potential employees accustomed to living in a bigger city.
“It could come down to a preference of senior leadership” on what presence Krispy Kreme keeps in Winston-Salem, Joines said.
But he stressed that finding and attracting talent has not been a major problems for its largest corporate citizens, although the city helped form a talent consortium with area universities to help train local residents to work for Inmar Inc.
“Even given the skill challenges most every company faces these days, our corporations are finding the talent they need to make the hires they need,” Joines said.
Joines said Monday that he hadn’t had any further conversations with Krispy Kreme officials.
On Oct. 31, reports surfaced that JAB Holdings is preparing to offer up to $8.2 billion for Dunkin’ Brands Group Inc., the parent company of Dunkin’ Donuts, by far the top doughnut chain in the country. Dunkin’ is based in Canton, Mass.
JAB has invested heavily in the coffee and doughnut sectors in recent years, spending a combined $23 billion on buying Krispy Kreme, Panera Bread, Keurig Green Mountain, Peet’s Coffee and Caribou Coffee.
Some media reports question whether an $8.2 billion price tag for Dunkin’ would be financially feasible for JAB Holdings, as well as the potential for regulatory scrutiny for controlling two-thirds of the American market share between 62.1 percent from Dunkin’ and 4.5 percent from Krispy Kreme, according to IRIS World.
Richard Craver Winston-Salem Journal
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