S. John Tilak reports at Reuters that Tim Hortons Inc isn’t content to be Canada’s largest restaurant chain, not when the biggest consumer market in the world lies at its doorstep.

Even though Canada’s coffee-and-donuts king has stumbled in the past in trying to replicate its success in the United States, it sees its latest marketing drive south of the border leading to strong sales momentum.

Indeed, the United States could eventually become Tim Hortons’ largest market, says Chief Executive Donald Schroeder.

“The United States is a developing market for the company,” he said.

The company, which has plans to open 300 more restaurants south of the border between 2010 and 2013, is investing heavily in advertising and marketing there to create awareness.

“People are getting to know Tim Hortons,” Schroeder said. He said brand awareness is likely to snowball into strong growth in the U.S. markets it has targeted.

“When the lights go on, and people become aware of what Tim Hortons is and what it stands for, you will see positive same-store sales growth for an extended period of time,” Schroeder told Reuters in an interview on Friday.

Tim Hortons is primarily focused on nine U.S. states, including New York, Michigan and Pennsylvania, with a combined population of 70 million people, twice the size of Canada’s.

 Read more at: Reuters