ROCK FALLS – A contractor has been chosen to build the new Dunkin’ Donuts store on First Avenue, and construction should begin sometime next month.
Initial plans were for the store to open in December on a vacant lot at 1800 First Ave. The lot had been owned by Walgreens, which has a store next to the site.
In September, however, the company said the timeline for the Rock Falls store had been backed up because of an ambitious expansion plan throughout the region.
The franchisee of the Rock Falls location is Bud Patel, a developer based in Naperville. Patel owns several other Dunkin’ Donuts stores, and food franchises such as Jersey Mike’s Subs and Buffalo Wings & Rings.
The city learned late last week that the project was ready to move forward.
“I talked to them last Thursday, and on Friday they chose the general contractor from among the last three in the running for the project,” said Mark Searing, the city’s building inspector.
Things should move quickly now, Searing said, estimating that construction should start sometime next month.
“They were really eager to get started, and all we need is for the general contractor to submit the plans so they can get the building permits,” he said. “The zoning is good, so there’s nothing that needs to happen there.”
Dunkin’ Donuts, based in Canton, Massachusetts, had about 460 sites on its expansion list last year. In the past few years, the company’s growth strategy has become more focused on penetrating smaller markets like Rock Falls. Sauk Valley residents now have to drive at least 40 miles to find a Dunkin’ Donuts. The closest ones are in Freeport, Pekin, and the Quad Cities.
Patel operates more than 20 Dunkin’ Donuts in the metropolitan Chicago and Quad Cities areas. He also is opening new locations in Indiana.