OREM -- Construction hasn't begun yet, and already Krispy Kreme Doughnut fever is starting to grip Utah County.

The tasty treats could be delighting Orem fans' taste buds as soon as this summer, when the Wasatch Front's first Krispy Kreme store will be completed. It will be none too soon for aficionados, some of whom have been known to make runs to Las Vegas just to get the doughnuts.Before trying Krispy Kreme, "I thought a doughnut was just a doughnut," said Murray architect Mo Myers, who designed the Orem store. "But they are exceptional. They will melt in your mouth."

Utahns who lived in other areas of the country -- particularly the Southeast, where Krispy Kreme has a cult following -- are salivating at the prospect of a store in their backyard.

"They're addicting," said Kate Mann, a Springville resident who ate Krispy Kremes while going to graduate school at Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green, Ky. "I think it'll be a huge thing."

On April 5, Krispy Kreme caused a bit of a stir on Wall Street with an initial public offering of stocks that raised about $60 million. The company sold a 24 percent stake, and, initially, stocks were moving like warm doughnuts just out of the oven.

Proceeds from the stock sales were to be used for refurbishing nearly 60 company-owned stores around the country. But Krispy Kreme's future seems to lie in franchising, where the company gets royalties totaling 4.5 percent of each store's sales.

Krispy Kreme representatives greased the administrative skids a little bit by bringing a selection of doughnuts to an Orem Planning Commission meeting earlier this year. Even without providing samples, Krispy Kremes are very well received by cities' planning departments -- a rarity in economic development circles.

"It seems to have generated a little excitement," said Ben Thomson, Orem's commercial planner.

Many city planners bend over backward to help on a Krispy Kreme project, Myers has noticed. Orem is no different, although Thomson is one of the few not to have tried the doughnuts yet.

"They're just giddy about having us come in," Myers said.

Eventually, Lincoln Spoor, who owns franchise rights to Utah and Nevada, plans to put as many as seven Krispy Kremes along the Wasatch Front, Myers said. If so, Utahns familiar with the store's practice of lighting a red sign when the doughnuts are hot could be spending a lot of time waiting in line and peering through glass windows.

"When the red sign's on, you stop and get some," Mann said. "My husband could eat a full dozen by himself."

The Orem store received construction bids last week, and a contract should be awarded this week, Myers said. A building permit is awaiting final approval, and construction could begin within a couple of weeks. The 4,000-square-foot store, with a drive-through window and tan stucco exterior, will be located at 415 W. University Parkway.

You can reach Edward L. Carter by e-mail at carter@desnews.com