If there is a hole in the middle of Greencastle's commercial landscape, there is an effort under way to fill it. Possibly with jelly or cream.
Dunkin Donuts is exploring the possibility of developing a Greencastle franchise over the next 12-18 months, it was confirmed by Grant Benson, vice president of franchise and marketing for the company.
"We've got Indianapolis covered with three or four developers in that territory, so now the periphery is open to single or multi-unit development," the Dunkin Donuts spokesman explained.
"We believe Putnam County has potential, and Greencastle is the focal point for that. We feel there are great folks there and we want to reach out to them and see what their appetite is."
Across the United States, Dunkin Donuts has 7,000 stores, the majority of which are owned and operated by franchisees. Ranking No. 1 in sales of regular coffee by the cup, Dunkin Donuts has grown rapidly throughout the Midwest with 500 stores in the Chicago market alone.
In eyeing Greencastle as an expansion area, Benson said the key will be identifying someone "excited, qualified and committed" to own the local franchise.
"In doing our prospecting there," he continued, "we have been contacting people of influence within the community to not only gauge their interest but to get their help in steering us to that right person."
Benson explained that once a franchisee is identified, it can take 12 months or more before a store materializes in that area because of issues like real estate acquisition and planning and zoning matters to contend with.
Since the average check at Dunkin Donuts is $3.20, a successful store will need population density and repeat business to be successful. Therefore, the company looks to tie its location "to the local population base with a spot as densely populated and well traveled as you can get, given the area," Benson said.
"That usually means there are existing businesses in the area," he continued, "like McDonald's and other quick-serve places. They may be competitors but they also speak to the fact there is business to be had."
The typical Dunkin Donuts for a community the size of Greencastle (population 10,326 by the latest Census) would most likely be an 800- to 1,200-square-foot structure built onto the end of an existing shopping/business center. That would allow Dunkin Donuts drive-through access while sporting the distinctive colors and awning of the company.
"We're probably not going to launch in Greencastle with a 300-square-foot spot inside a gas/convenience store," Benson said. "I don't think that would work."
Besides its donuts, Dunkin offers a diverse line of food and beverages, including breakfast sandwiches, bagels, coffee and iced coffee and other hot and cold drinks.
Dunkin is No. 1 in U.S. donut sales and has a name recognition factor of 98 percent, Benson said.
Dunkin Donuts has enlisted online assistance in finding a franchisee, staging a webinar this past Thursday (to which Chamber of Commerce members and others had been alerted). Another webinar is set for 3 p.m. Tuesday, June 28.
If interested go to franchisingevents.dunkinbrands.com to register.
In the meantime, anyone who has questions or suggestions for potential franchisees may call Reggie Wright 314-307-0105.