Could Grand Junction coffee drinkers soon be runnin on Dunkin’?

FILE - In this Oct. 31, 2011 file photo, a customer enters a Dunkin’ Donuts store Monday, Oct. 31, 2011, in Atlanta. The chain has been expanding its sandwich offerings to bring in more business during the afternoon. But Dunkin’ Brands CEO Nigel Travis said those sandwiches _ which include fried chicken and grilled cheese varieties _ shouldn’t be considered lunch. (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)

People who live on the Western Slope enjoy their doughnuts so much that a corporate giant plans a comeback in Grand Junction, Glenwood Springs and Durango, company officials announced this week.

Dunkin’ Donuts is recruiting franchisees in Colorado with an emphasis on the three cities.

There are 11 Dunkin’ Donuts restaurants operating in the state, including four in Denver, three in Colorado Springs and one in Boulder, officials said.

Area old-timers will recall a Dunkin’ Donuts that once operated on North Avenue, but shut down years ago. Demand for doughnuts has apparently risen since then, probably because of the high quality of the baked goods and the friendly service patrons enjoy at local shops that have opened since, area store owners contend.

Owners of local doughnut operations received the news of the potential franchise with looks of concern but confident words about the longtime loyalty of their customers.

“I’m a little worried because when something new comes to town, people always go and try it, but they always come back,” said Wanda Latek, co-owner of Daylight Donuts, 1410 North Ave.

“We still have the best doughnuts, the cleanest place and the best service,” she said.

Latek and her husband, Mariusz, emigrated from Poland in 1989 then settled in Grand Junction in 1997. The couple marks their first year as owners of the shop this month.

The first stop for the Lateks after Poland was Canada, where the couple “worked hard and saved money for seven years” to invest in a business in the U.S., Latek said.

Kent and Barbara Kehler, loyal Daylight Donuts customers and longtime area residents, said they, too, were concerned about the impact a new Dunkin’ Donuts franchise might have on the Lateks’ business.

“(Wanda and Mariusz) are so friendly and accommodating to everybody,” Barbara Kehler said. “It’s always so clean here. We love it.”

Joe Shero, owner of Raise n’ Glaze, 2412 Patterson Road, said he expects even his most loyal customers to sample Dunkin’ Donuts at some point, but argues those who prefer high quality ingredients, like real butter and seasonal fruits, will return to his shop.

“They’re a bit more restricted than we are,” Shero said. “They’re going to have to buy the Dunkin’ Donuts brand coffee and mixes.”

Although the corporate giant offers cost savings to franchisees because of the bulk purchasing it does on their behalf, “they can’t put local peaches into their doughnuts,” Shero said. “Being locally owned and operated gives us the freedom to serve whatever we want to.”

Unlike other fast-food restaurant chains, Dunkin’ Donuts owners enjoy increased flexibility under the franchise scheme, said Maria Hargett, a Dunkin’ Donuts recruiter.

Franchisees can choose the type of real estate where they want to locate their restaurant, for example. 

“Dunkin’ Donuts allows a variety of formats, including free-standing restaurants, end caps, in-line sites, gas and convenience, travel plazas, universities, and other retail environments,” Hargett said.

Variations in layout, color schemes, graphics, textures, furniture and lighting are also allowed, she said.

“Dunkin’ Donuts allows franchisees to select individual elements from four options, creating a restaurant design that reflects their personal tastes and preferences, and best serves their specific restaurant size and location,” Hargett said.

Franchisees can expect perks.

“To help fuel growth in Colorado, special development incentives are available, which include reduced royalty fees for three years and up to $10,000 in local store marketing for stores that meet certain goals,” Hargett said.

A franchising webinar for curious investors takes place 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 17. Visit for information.


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