Hope Hodge reports in the Jacksonville, NC News that after more than 40 years in business, the Dunkin’ Donuts location on Marine Boulevard closed its doors at 6 p.m. Tuesday.
Coffee lovers, never fear: A new location, with new owners, was scheduled to open early this morning, right across the street.
Owners David Rodgers and Mike MacGillivry said that after four successful decades in the franchise business, the time had come to scale back.
“It was time to expand or remodel, so we decided to close,” Rodgers said.
Rodgers and MacGillivry own the Dunkin’ Donuts on Western Boulevard as well and will continue to maintain that location, they said. All the employees now working at their Marine Boulevard store will relocate: Nine will begin working at the Western Boulevard location, and one has been hired by the new Dunkin’ Donuts.
But the owners say the memories they have accumulated still make the closing nostalgic.
“We still hand-cut our donuts here the way we did 40 years ago,” Rodgers said. “We’ve had a lot of good customers.”
Both Rodgers and MacGillivry met their wives through the store, where they all worked before buying the location from MacGillivry’s father in 1987.
“I proposed to my wife in the back of the store,” MacGillivry said.
Since then, the couples have been almost like a family, they said. Rodgers and MacGillivry bought the Western Boulevard store in 1990, and they describe managing the two locations as a “24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week job.”
“You have to be here,” MacGillivry said. “You can’t be in another state or another county to run your business. You’ve got to be hands-on.”
Their customers have noticed. Some who first visited the store 30 or 40 years ago now come in with their grandchildren.
“There was one customer in here (Tuesday) in tears,” Rodgers said.
But it was time, they said, to enter “semi-retirement” to travel, camp and play with grandchildren.
They locked the doors quietly Tuesday evening, putting in extra time to tear down signs and advertisements and pay a friendly visit to the owners of the new location, who held a VIP reception Tuesday before today’s official 5 a.m. opening.
Rick Holloway, vice president of operations for the new Dunkin’ Donuts location, said the new store would have a 24-hour drive-through, as well as a walk-in location open from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m.
They’ve hired 40 employees for the store, finding candidates through local job fairs.
“My preference is to promote from within,” Holloway said. “So there will be a lot of opportunities down the road for people here.”