Dunkin' Donuts to Open in Aberdeen in Late May
Ken Baer and Pat Corso are preparing to complete their transition from holes-in-one to doughnut holes.
The former Pinehurst Resort executives are on the verge of opening Dunkin’ Donuts stores in Aberdeen and Fayetteville, their first since Pinehurst Donuts LLC signed an agreement with the parent company in June 2010.
“We’re just very excited and proud,” Baer said Monday. “We feel like we’re bringing a top-flight product and service into an area we call home. It’s time to jump out of the airplane. Hopefully, the parachute works.”
The Fayetteville store will be in a former Pure service station on Raeford Road and is scheduled to open the first week of March. The Aberdeen store is slated for 1,875 square feet of space in the 5,000-square-foot former Blockbuster video store on U.S. 1 and will open at the end of May.
“We’ve done a really good job of taking an abandoned, run-down gas station and renovating it into something nice,” Baer said. “I know the city of Fayetteville is happy with what we’ve done.”
Baer added that a new door and drive-through window will be cut into the side of the former Blockbuster location in Aberdeen.
“We’re investing six figures to up-fit each location,” he said.
Pinehurst Donuts plans to hire between 30 and 45 full- and part-time employees at each location, and is currently training part of its Fayetteville crew at a Dunkin’ Donuts store in Cary.
“We’ve been offered a lot of help by other Dunkin’ Donuts franchisees,” Baer said. “There’s a lot going on, but it’s an exciting time for all of us.”
Baer and Corso, executive director of Moore County Partners in Progress, got the idea to open a Dunkin’ Donuts while working together at Mount Washington Resort in Bretton Woods, N.H.
“That seems like a long time ago,” said Baer, managing partner of Pinehurst Donuts. “In some ways, it’s almost unreal that we’re about to open the doors. We’re looking forward to coming to Aberdeen and Fayetteville, and being a responsible corporate citizen at each location.”
Pinehurst Donuts has exclusive franchise rights in Cumberland, Moore, Lee, Harnett and Hoke counties through 2016.
“We’ve got to get our stores up in the best locations in those counties before exclusivity expires,” Baer said.
He noted that it has taken 18 months to sign leases at each location because there has been little or no new commercial construction in either Cumberland or Moore counties.
“When buildings become available, you have to be ready because there has been no new development,” Baer said. “You’ve got to catch the customer’s eye for them to come to your store. We’re not like Walmart, where you can put us out in a field, and people will come.”
Corso was formerly president of Pinehurst Resort, while Baer was the chief financial officer. They are still looking for sites in Spring Lake, Hope Mills, Sanford and Fayetteville that will accommodate a store that is busiest between 5 a.m. and 10 a.m.
Baer said an ideal location would be about 1,800 to 2,000 square feet, be on the end of an existing building and have the ability to have a drive-up window.
“Location is absolutely everything,” he said.
Together Corso and Baer represent more than 60 years of collective experience in the hospitality industry, including resorts, restaurants, hotels, golf, skiing and spas. They have managed and have been involved in restoring some of America’s most respected resorts, including Pinehurst Resort and Mount Washington Resort.
Corso is now executive director of Partners in Progress, the county’s economic development organization.
Dunkin’ Donuts, which was founded in 1950, has expanded its offerings to include frozen and iced beverages, a full bakery assortment including bagels and muffins, breakfast sandwiches, and an all-day oven-toasted menu, which includes flatbread sandwiches, hash browns and buttermilk biscuits.
Based in Canton, Mass., Dunkin Donuts has more than 9,000 restaurants in 30 countries worldwide.
Contact Ted M. Natt Jr. at email@example.com.
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