Monday, July 21, 2008

Dunkin' Donuts: Store Number One

The Caldor Rainbow visits the first "Dunkin' Donuts" shop in Quincy, Massachusetts.

After all these years, the first shop is still intact, located at 543 Southern Artery and Brackett Street, next to the Super Stop & Shop plaza.

What began as William Rosenberg's "Open Kettle" in 1948, a coffee house restaurant quickly became "Dunkin' Donuts" in May 1950 and a few short years later as a chain operation in 1955. By 1963, the chain had 100 established "restaurants" across the U.S., today they have over 5,769 shops.

While the humble building has likely been expanded, renovated in-and-out through a few design eras, the foundation of the first store ever remains right here after 68 years in the birthplace of Dunkin' Donuts -- Quincy, Massachusetts.
The building itself is largely inconspicuous, with its 1990's prune-and-orange, ridged-plate facade look, sits snugly on a cramped corner. The millions of motorists who pass by may not even realize its history in a sea of 14 other locations for Quincy alone. The building beside it, now a service garage contains a once conformed brown-shingled look is painted over darker shades from an earlier look the chain once (and still, leftover) donned.
Everywhere you look, there's no wonder why "America Runs on Dunkin'"...

A chain that has expanded rapidly in just short decade has won big over the past years with an aggressive and wildly appealing join-us-or-die-trying marketing campaign that has reached outside the realm of coffee drinkers. What was once dad's coffee 'n doughnut lounge and smoke shop is no more.

While rival avant-garde Seattle-based coffee-and-crumpet chain Starbucks is closing 600 locations, the franchise-based Dunkin' Donuts continues to grow in size and appeal -- not closing but often relocating and remodeling. With the northeast flooded in brewed coffee, the spill is trickling into markets where the chain was once a scant entity like Florida and lesser served parts of the Mid-West.

If you don't believe us Northeasterns, check your town on the corporate page store locator for all eight to ten plus locations in your area whether they be in gas stations, supermarkets or just on the corner.


Back in March, The Caldor Rainbow made a pilgrimage to a bygone landmark in another Boston suburb Brighton for a shop whose authentic, vintage 1957 neon road sign had stood for decades but had faced recent rumors of being replaced. Taken down just four days after our visit for a modern, plexiglas one, corporate oversight cited the 51-year old sign had deteriorated beyond suitability.
Word has it the franchise owner of the North Beacon & Market St. location still has it in storage.

If you'd like to see what the Quincy store looked like in its heyday, find out here.


Anonymous said...

Dunkin Donuts are super rare in Texas, much like Orange Julius nowadays. Texas would be a good market for DD. Maybe they could refurbish old Starbucks. And Starbucks doesn't sell donuts, either.

Nicholas M. DiMaio said...

Dunkin' Donuts has always had its hardest time moving into the West ever since they began. Why? My guess is that there's too many independent, entrepreneural-types who don't necessarily need these chains -- especially when it's warm year long. After all, the West was built upon the spirit.

My other guess is that the HQ is largely based in the Northeast (and all over Mass.) so getting the goods all the way out there means setting up more distribution centers.

I could be wrong. Maybe it's, by large, just a Northeastern obsession.

By the way Jonah, I will make note of your Waco, TX Toys 'R' Us find soon.

Anonymous said...

Not that there AREN'T any in Texas, there are about three in Houston.

Meanwhile, a local donut shop is setting up shop across from my school. Maybe it's because Dunkin Donuts doesn't serve kolaches. Kolaches, especially sausage ones, are often found in donut shops in the Texas area.

Anonymous said...

I'm so charmed to see your story about Dunkin' Donuts. I noticed that store #9 was in the Princeton NJ area, as was store #41. The first DD I recall was in Middletown CT circa 1968. You could always find the cops there!

If you were looking for cops...which I wasn't!

Anonymous said...

A few days ago I heard on the radio that Dunkin Donuts was expanding in the rest and opening six locations in Arizona, of all places! I wonder when they'll be hitting Texas...recently Houston got a Steak n Shake...yum yum.

Larry said...

The vintage photo of Dunkin Donuts is actually in the "Time to Make the Donuts" book by William Rosenberg. It is identified as the Fair Lawn, NJ store. In fact you can tell it isn't the Quincy store as the Quincy store has a street that goes off at an sharp angle behind it and the Fair lawn store sits at a 90 degree corner.

Anonymous said...

What a revelation! I worked at Store Number One in 1965. It was my first job and I was only 14 at that time. I had no idea until today that it was the first Dunkin' Donuts store.

Amy Liz said...

It's a shame that they didn't leave the first store in its original state. At the very least they could've left the neon sign.

Unknown said...

Just as an FYI, Brighton is a neighborhood within the City of Boston, not a suburb.

Anonymous said...

I have a funny story to relate, regarding the first Dunkin' Donuts.

My first job (age 13) was at the first Dunkin' Donuts .

About 10 years ago , I sold a car to one of the bigwigs in their HQ in Randolph. It wasn't a very good car and the bigwig had a lot of problems with it. I volunteered to deliver a rental vehicle to the HQ and pick up the 'Lemon" that I had sold to have it repaired. When the needed repairs were complete , I returned the car to the HQ. I needed to speak to the 'bigwig' in order to get the keys for the rental vehicle. The receptionist at the HQ informed me that my customer was tied up in a meeting and that she would be out in 10 minutes.

The receptionist offered me a cup of coffee(DD , naturally) and a calendar .

While I was enjoying the coffee , I flipped thru the calender. The calendar was the type that is hinged like a steno pad , with pictures on the upper part and the months on the lower. The motif was of their stores.

When I opened the calendar to January it showed a picture of a DD store that was captioned "Our first store" . Only problem was , the picture wasn't of the first store.

I chuckled and mentioned the error to the receptionist. I told her that my first job was at the first DD and the picture was not of the right store.

The receptionist made a phone call and within 5 minutes there were a half dozen guys in suits in the lobby, yelling and pointing fingers at each other for the foul-up.

Turns out there was a picture of the original store in the calendar , somewhere around August/September and whoever was in charge of the captions had really screwed up ! I was told that they had printed up ~ 25,000 calenders !!

Viagra Online said...

Dunkin' Donuts is an international donut and coffee, and they are the best ones, I used to go to the restaurand when I lived in USA and I was kid!I need a Dunkin' Donuts in Portugal as soon as possible please!!22dd

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