Dozens of community members waited in line at Dunkin’ Donuts on Tuesday for the grand opening of its first Santa Maria location.
Located at the corner of Enos Drive and South Broadway Street, the new donut shop is around 2,060 square feet and seats about 26 people inside at several different types of rectangular tables. Another dozen people can be seated outside at chairs and tables on the patio.
On the wall, right above the cash registers, “Santa Maria runs on Dunkin’!” is written in dark brown text.
On Tuesday — as franchisee Kirsten Tharp used a pair of oversized scissors to cut a red ribbon — the line to order donuts extended past the door and curved alongside the front of the store.
“It’s been out the door all day,” Tharp said.
The Santa Maria location of Dunkin’ Donuts — best known for its donuts and coffee — had been in the works for over two years.
“This had been a very long process,” Tharp said. “I signed the lease when it was still dirt 26 months ago, and it’s taken us that long to finally get the door open. We’re just super excited to finally, finally be open.”
Mayor Alice Patino was one of the numerous city residents who were at Dunkin’ Donuts to support the grand opening. Patino said she planned to pick up one or two dozen donuts at the request of her husband.
The donuts have been far and away the most popular product during the grand opening day, Tharp said.
“Everybody thinks of us as only a donut shop. On the East Coast, it’s 90-percent coffee. So there’s a process to introducing everybody to the coffee and them realizing we make everything.”
Tharp said she suspected items like the stores’ espresso, iced coffee and other beverages would become more popular as Santa Maria customers familiarize themselves with the menu.
Santa Maria resident Frankie McCormack said he is excited there is now a Dunkin’ Donuts in the city because the next nearest location — in Santa Barbara — is about an hour drive away.
“I’m excited — I love donuts,” said McCormack, adding that he planned to order hash browns and a blueberry donut.
There were a total of 45 people hired to run the new Dunkin’ Donuts, Tharp said, adding that she planned to build more Dunkin’ stores along the Central Coast.
“Basically, anything above Goleta and up to Paso Robles,” Tharp said, regarding where future Dunkin' locations might be located.
Tharp said she chose Santa Maria for her first store due to its growing population.
“It’s a city that we felt like would embrace us,” she said.
Dunkin’ Donuts, located at 1486 S. Broadway St., will be open from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day.