I've lived in Tri-Cities for 17 years and I just found out Spudnuts used to be a chain. Sure, it's locally and independently owned here in Richland; but I thought it was the only one.

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My wife has one of those desktop calendar that has daily information and tidbits. She called my name from her office and showed me the trivia for Ash Wednesday. We couldn't believe it! She was just as surprised as me to find that the Spudnut franchise predates Dunkin Donuts and Krispy Kreme. Sure, Krispy Kreme was founded before Spudnuts, but Spudnuts exploded early with over 200 stores in 1948. At that point, Krispy Kreme was much smaller.


Spudnuts was a world-wide phenomenon, with over 170 stores in Japan alone in 1975. You can still visit a Spudnuts Shop in Vietnam.

The Spudnuts franchise was started by the Pelton brothers out of Salt Lake City in 1939.

The Richland Spudnuts opened in 1948 and later moved to its iconic location in the Uptown two years later. From 1948-1965, Betty and Barlow Ghirardo operated under the Pelton franchise before becoming sole owners. That's when they brought in some big changes like a spacious remodel and new menu items like coffee.

Betty and Barlow's granddaughter, Val Driver, has been the sole owner of Spudnuts in Richland for 30 years. The store recently celebrated 70 years, and in 2011 they made headlines when Sarah Palin took a great interest in them, calling for a "Spudnut Moment" for the United States.

The Spudnut franchise desolved in 1979 for reasons that would make for a great Michael Keaton movie. At that point, it was every spud for itself. Some stores have thrived like Richland's store, but many didn't survive. According to this single-page website last updated in 2017, there are around 50 stores selling Spudnuts in 3 different countries, with several of them operating under the iconic Spudnuts name.

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