Dunkin' Donuts is celebrating on Thursday the chain's return to the St. Louis market as well as its 60 years of serving coffee, donuts and baked goods with a grand opening event at the new store.
 
The doors of the new restaurant, in Kirkwood, Mo., will open to the public at 5:00 a.m., and the first 100 guests will receive $2.00 Dunkin' Donuts gift cards. The birthday celebration will kick off with a 9:30 a.m. ribbon cutting with Kirkwood Mayor Arthur McDonnell.
 
Franchisee Michael Geller also is using the event to kick off the "Dunkin' Donuts Beverages for BackStoppers" drive at the new restaurant. As part of the opening celebration, Geller will donate 50 percent of all first-week beverage sales, up to $2,500, to The BackStoppers, which provides support and financial assistance to families of fallen police officers and firefighters.
 
Geller, who earned post-graduate degrees from Washington University in St. Louis, said he's long wanted to return to the St. Louis area and bring the Dunkin' Donuts brand with him. "My mother and aunt have operated Dunkin' Donuts in New Jersey for more than 20 years. I grew up with the brand, had a passion for the business, always loved the products and have always felt at home here in St. Louis," he said in a news release.
 
The new Kirkwood location is complemented by a new menu that will include dozens of varieties of donuts, baked goods and beverages.
 
Dunkin' Donuts has been absent from the St. Louis market for about 10 years. In February 2008, they opened St. Louis for market development with more than 100 new restaurants projected over the next several years.
 
The Kirkwood location is one of nearly two dozen Dunkin' Donut stores planned for the St. Louis area, including 12 Geller plans to open, according to the St. Louis Business Journal.
 
From the story:
Franchisee Milan Patel of OHM Concession Group LLC plans to open a unit at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport's food court in the East Terminal on March 15 and a second Lambert location in Terminal 1 in May.
 
Last year, the company signed a deal with Jay Patel, managing partner of Dunkin' Development of Greater St. Louis, for 10 stores in St. Louis. Patel owns multiple convenience stores and gas stations in St. Louis as well as six Subway restaurants in Philadelphia. He is also the president of Accurate Personnel Services.
Dunkin' Donuts is the largest coffee and baked goods chain in the world, selling more than 1 billion cups of hot and iced coffee and more than 900 million donuts and Munchkins donut hole treats every year. Today, there are more than 6,500 restaurants in 35 U.S. states and the District of Columbia and more than 2,600 international restaurants in 29 countries.

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