Chain Gang

Will Dunkin’ Donuts Make Its Way Back to Washington?

The Massachusetts-based chain is poised to return to the West.

By Jessica Voelker July 27, 2011

Dunkin’ plans to head West once more, knocking down any snotty Starbucks stores that get in its way.

As a frequent visitor to ye olde New England, I can tell ye that Dunkin’ Donuts is a godsend in the coffee-forsaken small towns of that region. I would spend every Christmas in a fog of caffeine withdrawal were it not for the Dunkin’ stand at the gas station up the road from my parents’ abode. Seriously.

But would it play here? The last Dunkin’ Donuts shop left Washington in 2002, but The Seattle Times’ Melissa Allison reports that Dunkin Donuts has raised $428 million to fund its expansion back into West Coast markets—and that could present a problem for Starbucks.

"Dunkin’ casts itself as an unpretentious alternative to Starbucks," writes Allison. But "Dan Geiman, research director at McAdams Wright Ragen in Seattle, said it’s hard to know whether Dunkin’ will play well in the West. ’It’s a concept with tremendous loyalty,’ he said. ‘The lines in Boston are long, and the stores are jammed, but it’s hard to say how it will catch on in the West.’"

I guess we’ll see.

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