Dunkin' Donuts to open by Feb. 25

Staff photo by Michael Gibbons Work continues on the inside of the Dunkin' Donuts on Richland Avenue.

Franchise co-owner Charlie Hartz sees Aiken running on Dunkin' Donuts later this month. Hartz said the popular purveyor of coffee and doughnuts will open in its Shoppes at Richland location by Feb. 25. The 2,200-square-foot site is located near the Wal-Mart on Richland Avenue, across the street from the BP gas station. The last-minute details are being ironed out now. Hartz said the final permits are coming in and all the equipment is being installed. The signage is already up. "We have hired the majority of our staff," he said, noting the store will employee 30 people total. In August of last year, Hartz announced that he and his wife had signed an agreement with Dunkin' Brands Inc. to bring five Dunkin' Donuts locations over five years to the Aiken area. Dunkin' Brands Inc. also owns Baskin-Robbins, but Hartz said last year that this first location will not include the ice cream shop. Future Dunkin' Donuts locations could, though, as demand permits. Not only will Dunkin' Donuts serve coffee and doughnuts, its menu will also feature bagels, croissants and breakfast and lunch sandwiches like its turkey, cheese and bacon flatbread sandwich. According to its website, Dunkin' Donuts is the world's largest coffee and baked goods provider, serving more than 3 million customers a day. Hartz said menu prices range from 99 cents to $3.50. "A lot of people from up north recognize the brand," Hartz said. "People are glad they don't have to drive into Augusta. We're looking forward to being Aiken's favorite place for coffee in the future."