By Bianca Fortis
Business is already doing well for the newest Dunkin’ Donuts in the Rockaways.
On Sunday customers were rolling in and out of the parking lot of the store, at 113-20 Beach Channel Drive in Rockaway Park.
The franchisee of the store, Shaun Cain, said he opened the doughnut shop about a week and a half ago, after six months of work. The shop also serves Baskin-Robbins ice cream.
The building was previously a Wendy’s until the fast food chain closed its doors last year.
Cain said he initially purchased the four other Dunkin’ Donuts in the Rockaways in January. All of them had been shuttered after Hurricane Sandy walloped the city in October. Then, sensing the possibilities for a business on one of the Rockaways’ main thoroughfares, he purchased the forgotten Wendy’s and, in six months, transformed it into a doughnut shop.
“I see a lot of potential here,” Cain, who lives in Manhattan, said. “People underestimate the Rockaways. This is the last great piece of beachfront in New York City. It’s an up-and-coming area.”
He said he has spent about $1 million to get the stores opened.
All five are part of a network of stores operated by Cain’s family business, Cain Management Inc., based in Connecticut.
When he purchased the fifth location, people told him he was crazy, Cain said. But already he is proving naysayers wrong.
He said he thought Dunkin’ Donuts was a good fit for the community, rather than an “overpriced commodity” like Starbucks.
For the grand opening Sunday, Cain planned a two-hour event featuring a local radio station, raffles and an appearance by a special guest: former New York Giants linebacker Antonio Pierce.
“I wanted to show my appreciation to the community and do something special for them,” Cain said, with a cup of Dunkin’ Donuts coffee in hand.
Cain said he hosted the event to do something nice for the community.
Cain said Bret Lowery, director of operations for Dunkin’ Donuts in New York, was the one to push him to explore the Rockaway Peninsula as a market.
Lowery described the Rockaways as a great community.
“There’s a lot of diversity here,” he said. “But the one thing that everybody loves is doughnuts and ice cream, and we’re happy to bring it to them. Whether they’re from Breezy Point, Belle Harbor or Far Rockaway, we love all of our Rockaway guests.”
Reach reporter Bianca Fortis by email at email@example.com or by phone at 718-260-4546.