As one Dunkin' Donuts opens... another begins construction

We think it is safe to say that Duluthians and the Twin Ports in its entirety welcomed Dunkin' Donuts to the area with open arms and empty stomachs. Dunkin' Donuts opened their first Northland location (and second in the state) last week at 104 West Central Entrance in Duluth. 

Now we don't blame you if you have yet to have gotten a chance to try them out. The lines were pretty long for the first few days and the parking lot seemed to have an endless ring of cars waiting for the drive thru. But hey! It just shows how excited people area. And yes, we waited in the lines so that we could bring you a few photos of the new building.

The new store was built at the site of the former Warehouse Liquors store. The liquor store had been in business for about 25 years before a franchisee for Dunkin' Donuts purchased the building and ultimately razed it. We say ultimately because the foundation of the original building was still used for the new Dunkin' Donuts store. Everything else however is brand new.

It's hard to miss Dunkin' Donuts when driving up Central Entrance. Sitting on a prominent corner the building features a bold and modern design. Flat roof lines and neutral colors grace the exterior with pops of the company's signature orange color drawing customers eyes towards the new business.

We think that the redevelopment of this prime corner has really done a lot for the overall feel of the area. Hopefully it will help kick start the redevelopment of Central Entrance that the city of Duluth has been planning for a decade now. That plan includes the redevelopment of most of the residential corridor going up Central Entrance after Dunkin' Donuts into a commercial district. The eventual goal is to connect the two retail districts, Central Entrance and the Miller Hill area.


Technically even before Dunkin' Donuts opened their Central Entrance location last week work had already begun on another Dunkin' Donuts in the Twin Ports.

Dunkin' Donuts will open a new store in the former Mr. Movies space on Tower Avenue in Superior. If you've driven past the site recently you might have noticed that construction is in full swing. An exterior wall of the building had to be removed and rebuilt so that a drive through window could be included. The new store will be very similar to the Duluth one in size and looks. If construction goes according to plan Dunkin' Donuts in Superior will open this September.

But wait, there will be more. Dunkin' Donuts continues to scout for additional sites in the Twin Ports and up on the Iron Range. Eventually there will be about five more store locations with the potential for even more. East Duluth is a very likely candidate for the next Duluth Dunkin' Donuts location.

As always, check back to CDINDULUTH for more exciting news regarding this development and others within the Twin Ports.


Dunkin' Donuts is opening on...

Ladies and gentlemen grab ahold of the sturdiest item near you because you may need to brace yourself. We have the opening date for the first Dunkin' Donuts location in Northern Minnesota (the second in the state of Minnesota) and we're talking about the one right here in Duluth.

The doors to our coffee and donut paradise will officially open on June 24th.

Above: Dunkin' Donuts new location on Central Entrance. Thanks to one of our followers for this great picture! You can submit a picture of a local construction project too right here.

Now we're going to be up front and honest with you that we had to dig, and dig, and DIG for this information. We've been in contact with Dunkin' Donuts corporate office for about three weeks now and forwarded on to quite a number of people. What they told us is that the company does not like to comment on opening dates due to the fact that there could be set backs. 

So where did we get our date? The location themselves. We went straight to the source just for our followers... meaning the location itself. Let's be honest, you've been following all our posts on this for the last year... therefore you deserve to be one of the first.

Specific details regarding the opening have yet to be set in stone. At a few recent openings the first 100 customers in line received a free year of coffee. The average Dunkin' Donuts location is opening from 5am to 10pm daily.

 LET. US. BE. CLEAR. We are still unsure what the Duluth location's opening celebrations may be so please do not go start lining up now. Plus they just put down fresh blacktop so it really would be a shame to mess that up.

As always, check back to CDINDULUTH for more information regarding this development and other projects within the Twin Ports area.

Dunkin' Donuts shows off Central Entrance location design

Dunkin' Donuts will go before the Duluth Planning Commission tonight in hopes that all is approved for a new location at 104 West Central Entrance. We're excited to show you just what Minnesota's second and northern Minnesota's first Dunkin' Donuts restaurant will look like.

Designed by Scalzo Architects of Duluth, Dunkin' Donuts will sport a modern design that showcases the brands fun and iconic color scheme. A complete renovation of the interior and exterior of the former Warehouse Liquor building will allow for a completely new take on the structure and its design. What was once a liquor store will be home to the delicious smells of freshly roasted coffee and of course those delicious donuts.

North and South elevations

East and West elevations

The 2,450 square foot space features dining space to the front with kitchen and prep area tucked to the back. The interior shows seating for around 26 people at both tables and booths. This location will also feature a drive thru which is sure to be a hit when the coldest of northern Minnesota's winter days hit.

Floor plan of the new Dunkin' Donuts location

All should go well for Dunkin' Donuts when they present to the Duluth Planning Commission tonight. The only catch would be that the parking plan shows 23 spaces which may require a revision as the site is technically allowed only 22 spaces. But in the grand scheme of things that's a very minor hiccup and nothing to be concerned about.

Construction could begin as soon as April and delicious Dunkin' Donuts coffee and donuts could be in your hands by the end of Summer.

Dunkin' Donuts selects Central Entrance for first location

Yes, you did just read that headline stating that Dunkin' Donuts has actually established the location for their very first location in the Northland and potentially only the SECOND location in the entire state of Minnesota. Your donut and fresh coffee deprived eyes have not decided you and yes, you're right... you should feel proud right now to be a Duluthian. Let's all just take a moment to gather our excitement and prepare to read further.

Plans were presented recently to the Duluth Planning Commission by Land and Lease Development for a new 2,450 square foot free standing Dunkin' Donuts location to be constructed at 104 West Central Entrance. That site currently is home to Warehouse Liquor which has been open for 20+ years in that same location. This particular Dunkin' Donuts location is unique in the fact that it will feature a drive thru which is guaranteed to be successful in Northern Minnesota especially during those winter months. 

Citizens of Duluth this is the moment where you should feel quite proud to call yourself a Duluthian as this will be the FIRST not only free standing Dunkin' Donuts location in the state but also the FIRST to feature a drive thru within the state. Now that is simply luxury at it's finest. 

Above:  Site aerial of the planned Dunkin' Donuts location (outlined in yellow) at 104 West Central Entrance.  (Image provided by the Duluth Planning Commission).

Above: Site aerial of the planned Dunkin' Donuts location (outlined in yellow) at 104 West Central Entrance. (Image provided by the Duluth Planning Commission).

Now lets get down to those niddy and gritty details. Currently Land and Lease Development is looking to have the alley that abuts this site vacated in order to allow more parking. They feel it is necessary for additional parking to be on site as this first location is expected to be very successful due in part to its location within the heart of Duluth on one of the busiest corridors in the area. The minimum number of parking spaces allowed for the Dunkin' Donuts based on the building square footage would be 12 with a possible 50% expansion to 17 total spaces. Land and Lease Development would like to include 22 spots on site and would need the adjacent alley vacated in order to do so. The alley would however not be entirely closed off and would still have access through the Dunkin' Donuts site to Central Entrance.

While the site itself has enough parking to meet the minimum requirements set forth by the city of Duluth the developers are still looking to include more as area fast food chains such as McDonald's, Burger King, and Subway have almost twice as much parking as technically needed. The developers fear that the success of the business will cause customers to park in nearby business parking lots as there will not be enough parking on site for all Dunkin' Donuts customers. A formal plan has not yet been presented for the specific details of the building itself but is expected to be within the next month. 

Above:  Dunkin' Donuts prototype design.  (Image proved by Dunkin' Donuts).

Above: Dunkin' Donuts prototype design. (Image proved by Dunkin' Donuts).

Above:  Site plan showing the exact location of the planned Dunkin' Donuts at 104 West Central Entrance  (Image provided by Duluth Planning Commission)

Above: Site plan showing the exact location of the planned Dunkin' Donuts at 104 West Central Entrance (Image provided by Duluth Planning Commission)

It doesn't sound like there should be any hiccups or issues regarding this development sailing through the planning commission after alterations are made regarding the parking if the developers choose to do so. If all goes according to plan we could see construction start this winter with an opening in late spring or summer as these buildings tend to go up quite quickly.

We're working on getting you more details and will of course have the plans for the building itself as soon as we can get our development crazed fingers on them. We'll also have news on Warehouse Liquors plans for the future next week too! Until then, check back to CDINDULUTH for all the latest in development news in the Twin Ports. 

Check out our previous post on Dunkin' Donuts expansion into Duluth and Superior. We've also posted about Dunkin' Donuts plans to expand in the Northland which you check out here.

Dunkin' Donuts looking to enter Duluth market


Yes. You read that title correctly. Your donut craving eyes and stomach have not caused you to hallucinate, but rather to see reality. Quite possibly the most famous donut and coffee chain in the entire country, even the world, is looking to enter the Duluth market... and it could all be yours. Yes. You could be the one responsible for bringing Dunkin' Donuts to Duluth.

It was reported in 2008 that Dunkin' Donuts was looking to enter the Minnesota market, but plans seemed to fail without an aggressive approach and  no interest from investors. The company had closed their last Minnesota store in the early 2000's. The talk that resumed in 2008 that there was a revival in the near future for the Dunkin' Donuts chain caused excitement in what seemed to be every corner of Minnesota. Dunkin' Donuts was looking now to gain control of the market directly after Krispy Kreme's departure in 2008 and Minnesotans were hungry for donuts in a virtually donut less environment. Then the recession hit hard and it's now been almost six years that we have still been searching, stomaches grumbling, for that delicious donut to fill our sweet tooth.

News recently broke out that the company is once again quickly looking to enter the Minnesota market. However, plans have changed, and boy have they changed for the better for us Duluthians! Dunkin Donuts has established that the Twin Cities market along with the Duluth market are where they desire to open their first Minnesota stores. They are looking for 10 franchisees in Minneapolis and for as many as five franchisees for the Duluth market. Yes people. This town could soon be home to five Dunkin' Donuts locations. But there is a catch. They need your help. Send them sources for investors! Talk to your friends and coax them into wanting to own a delicious donut and coffee emporium. You'll do us all a favor. That's the way you'll see your favorite donut shop popping up on the corner.

So whats the big deal about Dunkin' Donuts? People seem to obsess over it. You mention the double d's and it's practically as if people faint to the floor. Their a little like Walgreens when it comes to their expansion plans in larger cities... you'll find one on every corner... maybe sometimes even two to a block. Their ambitious in their plans and they have reason to be as they are... well... basically glorified by the masses. It's the fact that the company is a double whammy when it comes to sales. It's not just the fact that they have delicious donuts... it's the fact that they have the delicious coffee to go along with it too. It's created great success for the company. 1950 marked the birth year of Dunkin' Donuts, today they have over 15,000 locations in 37 different countries. Their menu seems to continue to expand with each new year, now including over 1,000 items.

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Now what exactly does it take to open an iconic shop like Dunkin' Donuts? Well... continue reading and we'll tell you. Feast your eyes on the process. First you need to select an available market, good news for you is that not only is Minnesota an available market, but you have over 85 available counties to choose from. If you're looking to open shop in Houston or Winona county... your luck has run dry as those are already reserved. The interesting thing is that St. Louis County is the only county marked for future growth. Special treatment? We think so. The company must have changed plans recently and have yet to update their website. The next step in the process of owning your dream donut shop is to have experience. No, you do not have to have owned a Dunkin Donuts before in your life, but food service, or retail management is a plus. Third... you've got to have a passion for the donuts. You must live by the donut ways and dedicate yourself to serving not only the perfect donut, but also that delicious cup of coffee to go right be side it. Lastly, you've got to have the moolah... we're talking about a good amount of money here people. Requirements will vary depending on your market, but the lowest is that of $250,000 in minimum liquid assets and $500,000 minimum net worth per unit (store). Start saving those dollar bills now, it all will count eventually.

After reading the above statements, we know what your thinking to yourself. "It's funny. I happen to live in Duluth, love donuts... actually glorify them, and happen to have ohh... $250k sitting around." Well then, we think a match was just made in donut heaven... and you're in luck. Dunkin Donuts will hold a Minnesota conference for potential investors on January 21st. We think it's in your best interest to attend. Just imagine... driving up that steep hill past Spirit Mountain with thousands of Dunkin' Donuts fans cheering you on from the sidelines of the freeway... shouting your name. Now we can't guarantee that type of send off, but we can do our best to try.

So long story short, encourage your neighbors, friends, and family members, to look at opening a Dunkin Donuts in the Duluth area. They'd do us all a great favor and we'd be eternally thankful. Heck, why not get your kids in on the deal. I mean really... what kid is going to deny you their allowance for endless donuts? Point. Made.