Charleston’s running on Dunkin’

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Rob Le Cates

For the first 100 customers, store franchisee and owner Krishna Patel handed out free insulated tumblers. Krishna said they were looking at Charleston for a long time and were trying to find the right location. “We’re looking forward to working with the community, college, everyone,” Krishna said.

Luke Taylor, Editor-in-Chief

Students and “townies” alike descended on Charleston’s new Dunkin’ location this morning, lining up outside ahead of the 8 a.m. opening.

Around 30 customers arrived before the doors opened, but more were soon to follow. The restaurant saw upwards of 60 in-store customers in the first half hour, as well as a steady stream of cars in the drive thru.

Caleigh Miller, a senior sports management major, and Rianna Rothermel, a junior early childhood education major, waited outside in their car for an hour before the store opened.

“We’ve been waiting for years, actually, for Dunkin’ to finally come to Charleston,” Rothermel said. “We’re super excited.”

Ashley Richardson, a senior special edition major, orders a coffee and doughnuts from Dunkin’ during their opening Wednesday morning, Nov. 9, 2022, in Charleston, Ill. Richardson said she was very excited when she learned a Dunkin’ would be opening in town. (Rob Le Cates)

Ashley Richardson, a senior special education, said she heard via YikYak, an anonymous social media app, that the franchise would be open today.

“I’ve been waiting since family weekend when they were supposed to open, and then they didn’t and my heart was broken,” Richardson said.

Richardson said she prefers Dunkin’ to Starbucks and has been driving by to check if the location was open yet.

After being open for 30 minutes, Dunkin’ saw upward of 60 in-store customer as well as a steady stream of cars lining out of the drive thru queue. (Rob Le Cates)

Edgar Romero, a freshman engineering major, said that Charleston’s lack of a Dunkin’ location was almost a deal breaker in his decision to attend Eastern.

“I grew up drinking Dunkin’ coffee since I was honestly, like, seven years old in Chicago,” Romero said.

Romero said that next semester, he may look in to getting a job as a barista there.

Paid hours won’t be necessary to bring him to the location, though.

“My dad goes three times a day, but I keep it down to one time a day,” Romero said.

Dunkin’ offers a variety of doughnuts ranging from basic rings with flavors like strawberry to chocolate to sugary doughnut holes to specialty doughnuts like Boston creams. (Rob Le Cates)

This is the 36th Dunkin’ location for franchisee siblings Krishna and Rashmi Patel. They have locations in Iowa, Kentucky and Missouri, as well as several in central Illinois.

“Charleston was our town to be in, but just to find the right location took a very long time,” Krishna said. “And then beginning of next year, we’ll be opening one in Mattoon, too.”

Many of the franchisees’ other stores are in small towns, but the university was a big reason they focused on Charleston.

“We wanted to serve the students as well,” Rashmi said. “We’re dedicated to the community and we look forward to get the business of the community and serve it simultaneously.”

They also held a well-attended opening for their Mt. Vernon location recently.

“People just line up in the early morning,” Krishna said. “They’re just waiting to get that first cup of coffee.”

The Charleston Dunkin’ opened late today for the grand opening, but will be open from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. going forward.

 

Luke Taylor can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected]