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Oxford runs on Dunkin'

A new Dunkin' opened in Oxford on Monday, April 15 to crowds of students and community members waiting for their first taste of coffee and donuts from the new store. The Oxford Dunkin' previously opened for a limited time on Friday, April 12 for a friends and family day.

Dunkin', formerly known as Dunkin' Donuts, dropped "donuts" from its name to emphasize that they are more than a donut shop.

Last week during the friends and family event, students and residents poured into the storefront from 7 a.m. until about 11:45 a.m. for free donuts and coffee.

Although it was technically invite-only, Director of Operations Rob Beil said they didn't turn anyone away and that the line was all the way out the door.

Dunkin' had 632 customers on Friday for this "stress test," which allowed the employees to test the equipment and to iron out any kinks before the official opening on Monday.

Dunkin' planned to close at 11 a.m. on Friday, but there were so many people in line that they stayed open until they sold out. Eventually, they ran out of product, which Beil said has never happened in any of the 31 stores he oversees.

Monday was a "soft opening," meaning Dunkin' did no marketing and did not have any special discounts or giveaways. Nevertheless, Beil said the turnout was better than he expected.

"I can't believe the lines," said Julea Remke, a public relations representative from Journey Marketing and Design, an outside agency that handles Dunkin's PR and marketing. "I've never seen the lines like this. This is crazy."

Senior Meaghan Murtagh went to Dunkin' both on Friday and on Monday. On Friday, she was told she and her friends were the second customers at the new store.

Murtagh began emailing people from corporate about a month ago, trying to figure out the opening date. She eventually reached out to Beil, and after explaining to him how excited she was about the opening, he invited her to the friends and family day.

"There's three [Dunkin' locations] a mile from my house back home, so growing up I was used to going there every day, and so when I came to college when there was no Dunkin', I was distraught," Murtagh said. "Finally, after three and a half years, they opened one."

Oxford's Dunkin' is a Next Generation model.

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These Next Generation stores are made to have a more inviting and intimate feel, Beil said.

Next Generation stores were designed in early 2018 in Boston, where the brand is headquartered. Now all new Dunkin' stores will follow the Next Generation design. Out of the store's 9500 total stores, 185 are Next Generation.

On one wall in the Oxford location hangs a sign that reads "Oxford runs on Dunkin'," and they plan to hang a Miami "M" on another wall. Both of these signs seek to further the community feel, Beil said.

"We always call it the third place. You have home, work and then your third place hopefully is Dunkin'," Beil said.

The Oxford Dunkin' also features a tap system for cold brews and a nitrogen-infused coffee.

"The nitro is a very clean, smooth, bold flavor of iced coffee, and it's infused with nitrogen that allows that to be sipped and enjoyed all throughout the experience," Beil said.

This coffee was invented only a few years ago and is a unique feature of the Next Generation stores.

Another change from a typical store is that the donuts are placed in a case within the front counter instead of on the back wall, so people can more easily view their options. This is a return to how Dunkin' used to arrange their stores.

The Oxford location also has a drive-thru and connects to the DD mobile app, which provides rewards and allows people to order ahead.

Miami University was one of factors that drew Dunkin' to consider an Oxford location.

"We do really well with millennial crowds, and that is obviously a big portion of who you have in Oxford nine months out of the year," Remke said. "We're just trying to build in places that we see have great potential and that match our target audience."

The store is now open, on 431 S Locust Street, in the old Tim Horton's location, from 5 a.m. - 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 6 a.m. - 8 p.m. on Sundays. There will be a grand opening ceremony in mid-May.