Six years ago today, Ken Blum and his partners opened their first Dunkin’ Donuts store on Graham Road in Cuyahoga Falls.
Today, Blum opens his 15th store, this one in Kent on Main Street. He has another under construction in Cuyahoga Falls and two more in Broadview Heights and Parma.
Blum and his partners own the rights to open any new Dunkin’ Donuts stores in a U-shaped area from Avon to Akron to Aurora, or what Blum calls his “triple A” territory.
It does not include the Cleveland suburbs or Canton. Existing Dunkin’ Donuts franchise owners, including Circle K, which operates Dunkin’ Donuts out of some of its stores, are separate. Blum said with 18 stores open or underway, he is now the largest franchise owner in Northeast Ohio.
At the Kent location at 525 E. Main St., the new Dunkin’ Donuts sits on a lot that for years had a closed gas station. An adjoining house was also purchased. Both the gas station and house were demolished.
Because the lot was still small, Blum worked with architects on construction that allowed a main level and a mezzanine, which has more seating.
The Kent location is Blum’s first college setting and is designed differently.
“Our typical location is about the commuter. This is about the student,” he said. Though a typical Dunkin’ Donuts will have about 20 seats, the Kent location has about 40, including many electrical and USB outlets.
“We wanted to create an environment that college students would want to hang out in,” said Blum.
Beyond donuts and coffee, Dunkin’ Donuts now offers a sandwich menu available all day.
Blum said he spent about “seven figures” on the Kent location. “This is the most expensive by far.”
The location has more than 30 employees and features a drive-up window.
Blum’s various locations operate under different franchise names. The latest stores are under C&P Donuts. Blum and his wife, Gerri, operate the business from their Hinckley Township home.
In the last year, they have opened a store in West Akron in Wallhaven and in Aurora and Macedonia.
Construction has begun on the next location in Cuyahoga Falls, set for the former Charter One branch location on State Road between Chestnut Boulevard and Sackett Avenue.
Blum said he wasn’t looking for a new location in the Falls — the other is on Graham Road off state Route 8 — but the former bank site became available.
The bank building is being retrofitted. A drive-up window was relocated slightly, but will be on the same side of the building.
Blum purchased the building for $400,000 and will spend a few hundred thousand more on the retrofit. Construction started a few weeks ago and Blum hopes to open by early February.
Blum wants to open two to four new stores a year with an overall goal of 30 openings in the next five years. “We think we will have 50 units over time,” he said.