Dunkin Donuts to open soon

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 25, 2011

By Emily Ford
The long-anticipated Dunkin’ Donuts on Jake Alexander Boulevard has an owner and will open soon, ending months of frustration for hungry residents eager for the doors to open.
Salisbury has waited more than a year for doughnuts, coffee and Baskin-Robbins ice cream at the standalone Dunkin’ Donuts next to Walgreens.
“We are excited,” said Darshy Mehta, who purchased the shuttered franchise with his wife, Aditi Mehta. “Salisbury has been wanting a Dunkin’ Donuts, and it will be here.”
Darshy Mehta and his son Neil, a student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, were at the shop Wednesday afternoon. White tarps still cover the store’s signs, but Mehta said corporate headquarters will announce a grand opening next week.
“I’m quite astounded and pleased and happy to hear that Dunkin’ Donuts has finally decided to open up and they’ve found a new franchise owner,” said Ray Gobbis, a loyal Dunkin’ Donuts customer who drives by the location every day on his way to work. “That’s really great.”
The store will feature a full Dunkin’ Donuts food and coffee menu and an abbreviated ice cream menu called “BR Express.”
Although the Mehtas, who live in Concord, have owned several hotels and gas stations in other states, this is their first Dunkin’ Donuts, he said.
They have hired 40 full-time and part-time employees with help from the Rowan County Employment Security Commission, which provided 75 applications. Additional job seekers responded to a sign taped to the front door, which Darshy Mehta took down after he was inundated with applications.
“We are glad to be able to help people who are out of work,” he said. “So many people are looking for jobs.”
Rowan County’s unemployment rate rose to 11.6 percent in November, up from 10.9 percent in October.
The doughnut, coffee and ice cream shop never opened after it was built more than a year ago, causing frustration among Dunkin’ Donuts fans.
The company didn’t have a franchisee, a spokesperson said in April and again in August.
The city wrote up the property twice this summer for overgrown vegetation. The company apologized.
Mehta acknowledged the rocky start but said the future for Dunkin’ Donuts in Salisbury is bright. Employee training will begin in the coming weeks.
“When we open, we want everything to be just right,” he said.
Contact reporter Emily Ford at 704-797-4264.