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Doughnuts duke it out in Midlands as Dunkin’ expands

krupon@thestate.comOctober 12, 2012 

Dunkin Brands IPO

Dunkin' Donuts products are displayed Wednesday, July 27, 2011 in Montpelier, Vt. Shares of Dunkin' Brands Group Inc. shot up 39 percent in morning trading on their first day on the Nasdaq. (AP Photo/Toby Talbot)

FILE PHOTOGRAPH — ASSOCIATED PRESS

Dunkin’ Donuts has found a sweet spot in the Midlands.

The purveyor of cakey doughnuts and fresh coffee, which traditionally has had a low-key presence in the area, is opening a rash of new stores from Lexington to Northeast Richland.

“We’re thrilled to be there in the community,” said Peter Marrinan, president and chief executive of franchisee TBG Food Acquisition Corp., a subsidiary of New York-based private equity firm the Beekman Group. “Columbia is a really lovely place, and we’ve found a really warm reception.”

Here’s what the brand has planned:

A new store in a former bank building on Devine Street at Millwood Avenue, across from Dreher High School, will open in the first quarter of next year.

•  A store opened on South Lake Drive in Lexington a couple of weeks ago.

•  At the end of this month, a store with a drive-through window will open in the BP station on Blythewood Road in Blythewood.

•  The franchisee also is about to start construction of a new store in Sumter.

Last year, Dunkin’ opened a store on high-traffic Clemson Road.

“There are others that we are working diligently on,” Marrinan said, adding negotiations are continuing for those sites.

The activity puts the Dunkin’ franchisee ahead of a schedule it announced two years ago. Marrinan said then his group would open eight new locations in the Midlands by the end of 2016.

In addition to doughnuts and coffee, the stores sells frozen and iced drinks, and baked goods and breakfast items, including bagels, muffins and hash browns.

Competitor Krispy Kreme – known for its glazed doughnuts – also has been making a push to expand in the Midlands in the past couple of years. It also has opened stores in Lexington, on Clemson Road and on Garners Ferry, just a mile or two from Dunkin’s new Devine Street location.

Shop shorts

•  Soda City, Columbia’s all-local farmers market, officially opens Saturday on Main Street, moving from its Whaley Street location. The market will take place from 8 a.m. to noon every Saturday on the 1500 block of Main Street, with dozens of local vendors selling fresh fruits and vegetables, dairy products and arts and crafts.

•  You can show your college spirit while supporting your school in the office with a customized office machine from Columbia’s Simplified Office Systems. The company is selling and renting fully decorated Carolina and Clemson copiers, printers and duplicators. Proceeds from the sale of the machines go to the universities, the company said. See them at mysimplifiedoffice.com.

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