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.