Gary Cox showed up for work early on May 11 — and that means early. The newly rebuilt Dunkin’ Donuts, on Palm Coast Parkway near Cypress Point Parkway, was scheduled to open for the first time since it burned to the ground 11 months and one day earlier. Cox, the store’s manager, said the store was scheduled to open at 4 a.m.
“I got here at 3:45, and there were people here waiting on me,” he said.
Cox is new to the store, having moved to Palm Coast in February, but he is joined by 14 employees who worked there before the fire. Those 14 worked at other stores while this one was rebuilt, with the company’s insurance (Old Dominion Insurance, the Main Street America Group) helping to pay their wages.
“It feels great to finally have this behind us,” said Glen Garman, a Palm Coast resident and one of the store’s owners.
He stopped into the store on the afternoon of May 11 and was greeted by a customer who said, “Glad to have you back.” Garman said that kind of interaction had been happening all day.
He attributes the store’s popularity to the fact that Palm Coast has so many natives of the Northeast, where the Dunkin’ Donuts brand was born. Also, this particular store is on prime real estate in the city.
Garman is also involved in the ownership of five other Dunkin’ Donuts stores, including the one on State Road 100. That one and the one he doesn’t own in Palm Coast, on Old Kings Road, were both significantly busier while the one on Palm Coast Parkway was out of commission. After business settles down, he expects the numbers will show that the city, given the economic recovery and increasing population, could support a fourth Dunkin’ Donuts.