By WILLIAM LANEY
An analysis of the city’s demographics and location along Interstate 75 and near U.S. 33 proves Wapakoneta would be an ideal location for a Dunkin’ Donuts, a company executive says, but the company does not operate and manage stores and thus a franchisee would have to be found.
Dunkin’ Donuts Franchising and Marketing Vice President Grant Benson said an area where people work, shop and play is a potential location for a Dunkin’ Donuts restaurant.
He noted stores could be in downtown Columbus, a suburb, or in a rural community such as Wapakoneta.
“We are really looking for an area where people concentrate and filter through on a regular basis, we certainly look for good traffic and we look for areas that seem to be growing and have some vibrancy,” Benson said of the donut and coffee chain founded in 1950 by Bill Rosenberg. “We want Dunkin’ Donuts to fit right into the fabric of the community.”
Benson, who is from Cincinnati and often travels to Michigan, pointed out a positive for Wapakoneta is that it is right off I-75 at an exit with “a lot of great retail and fast food
restaurants and Dunkin’ Donuts would fit right in.”
“Wapakoneta certainly has that type of vibrancy and is one of those areas that we would typically be looking for where you can catch people traveling as well as local activity,” Benson told the Wapakoneta Daily News. “A city like Wapakoneta is by no stretch of the imagination too small of a town for Dunkin’ Donuts — we should have a presence there.”
Mayor Rodney Metz welcomed the news of the chain researching Wapakoneta as a potential site for a restaurant.
“We will do whatever we possibly can for them as we would do with any other type of business,” Metz said. “We will more than welcome them to our community.
“I think they would do well in this community and I am sure they have conducted all the necessary research and studied the demographics to determine Wapakoneta as a viable site,” the mayor said. “On the city side, we will help facilitate whatever we can with what they need or what they would like — if they need help finding a building or getting permits for a building, we will do whatever we can.”
Explaining the typical steps for locating a Dunkin’ Donuts to a community, Benson said they would first contract with a franchisee and then company executives would analyze the city and evaluate the franchisee to make sure the two would be good partners.
Once a franchisee is identified, Benson estimated it typically takes 12 to 18 months to build a store. He would envision a store in Wapakoneta with a seating capacity of approximately 20 to 25 people and the store would have to have a drive-thru window to accommodate local and interstate traffic.
Benson stressed Dunkin’ Donuts is an international company with a focus in the United States with “very strong field support.” They provide experts to help a new franchisee locate a site and build a store, and operations people to help them to be profitable, and will help them with cooperative promotions — pairing national advertising with local advertising and marketing.
Benson said the help with development, construction, operations, marketing and training “are the key functional disciplines that we provide as resources for franchisees.”
He said Dunkin’ Donuts can be placed closer together — so stores in Lima and Sidney would not be competitors.
“One of the beauties of our product is people frequent us very often and we can put locations much closer together than a pizza or a taco concept could,” Benson said.
“Clearly Wapakoneta and Lima — there is room not only in those two towns but in cities all up and down Interstate 75,” he said. “We are really looking at growing along this corridor.”