Thursday, April 10, 2003

Dunkin’ Donuts wants Cape location

Published in the Current

If developers have their way, a Dunkin’ Donuts will open in Cape Elizabeth, just across the high school entrance road from the Community Center.

George Valvanis, a Dunkin’ Donuts franchisee and operating partner with eight stores in Southern Maine, said a Cape Elizabeth store is on his plan, right after one at Dunstan Corner in Scarborough, one in South Portland’s Cash Corner and a third on Route 1 in Saco.

Those three are all in various stages of planning and approval, and he expects them to open within the next year. He hopes to have the Cape one open by summer 2004.

“We’re planning on putting a Dunkin’ here,” Valvanis said.

The property is now occupied by a building that used to house real estate agent Tom Tinsman’s office. “We would probably be tearing it down,” Valvanis said.

The building that replaced it would be a “colonial-type,” with “a couple thousand square feet” of space, Valvanis said.

Cape Elizabeth does not allow drive-through windows in the downtown, according to Town Manager Mike McGovern, and Valvanis said the business wouldn’t include one.

On Nov. 18, 2002, Fernando Cafua of North Andover, Mass., bought the property at 349 Ocean House Road for $288,750, according to Cape Elizabeth town records.

Valvanis said Cafua is his business partner, and owns “about 80” Dunkin’ Donuts stores in Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, New York and Florida.

When the building was purchased, they planned to start the development process immediately, but corporate priorities forced a delay.

Valvanis owns a new Scarborough Dunkin’ Donuts that opened on Payne Road recently, another on Route 1 in Scarborough, one in Saco, one in Old Orchard Beach, one at Woodfords Corner in Portland and three in South Portland.

He said a Cape store may cut into the business at his Broadway store in South Portland, but he isn’t worried.

“I think it’s needed,” Valvanis said. “Obviously a lot of people like Dunkin’ Donuts.”

He said word is starting to get around Cape about the idea. “All I’ve had is positive feedback,” he said. “We’re a good neighbor,” donating to community organizations and fund-raising efforts, he said.

And Cape isn’t the last place he’ll look. “There are other properties we’re trying to purchase,” Valvanis said, though he would not give specifics. Demand is strong.

“Just about everyone drinks coffee.”