The Sisters McMullen, the popular Asheville bakery that recently exited the doughnut-making business to concentrate on other goodies, left a big (ahem) hole in the local market. But the city’s first Dunkin’ Donuts franchise seems to be filling the breach.
Asheville once boasted a Dunkin’ Donuts a couple of decades ago but it went out of business. And now, despite the city’s alleged distaste for national chains in and around downtown, business has been incredibly brisk at the new store, which is located at 411 Merrimon Ave.
One reason might be that the Massuchusetts-based chain, with high concentrations of stores in Florida and especially the Northeast, is drawing not only curious locals raised on North Carolina-based Krispy Kreme but also gobs of Yankee transplants who miss their “DoDos,” as the store is affectionately called in the Boston area.
“We’re getting a lot of Red Sox fans coming through the door,” franchisee Scott Shealy tells The Biz. “The customer response has been wonderful—certainly far more than we had anticipated. We thought there was some pent-up enthusiasm for Dunkin’ Donuts, but it has certainly exceeded our expectations. Almost all of them have said, ‘Thanks, we’ve waited a long time for this.’”
The small shop, which shares a building with a BP gasoline station/Citi-Stop convenience store and most recently served as a laundromat, has packed in the customers since opening on Nov. 12, says Shealy. During most times of the day, parking is at a premium at the site and customers occasionally spill out the door. At present, the store is open daily from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. and is one of the few Dunkin’ Donuts in the state or nationally that offers the complete line of company products (not only doughnuts and its turbo-charged coffee and Fair Trade-certified espresso drinks, but also items such as personal pizzas and flatbread sandwiches).
Just how popular has the early response been? “Yesterday [Nov. 15] we had over 1,000 customers,” Shealy said last Friday, while declining to divulge first-week sales volumes.
For those who might be too pressed for time to wait in line at the store, no sweat. Shealy says he and parent company, Citi Brands LLC, plan a total of 12 stores in Asheville and Hendersonville, pending local-government approvals. Already a second store is under construction inside the Citi-Stop convenience store in Biltmore Village. A third is awaiting approval for construction at the corner of Hendersonville Road and Springside Drive in south Asheville.
• The weather business: The Leadership Asheville Forum has announced that David G. Brown, executive director of the Asheville HUB and former chancellor of UNCA, will speak at its November Critical Issues Luncheon on Thursday, Nov. 28. Brown will address how new initiatives to make Asheville a national center for both climate services and healthy living offer opportunities to attract millions of dollars, thousands of new professional jobs and hundreds of new enterprises to the Asheville area.
The public is invited to attend the luncheon, which will be held at the Board of Education offices at 175 Bingham Road, near the Richmond Hill Inn (directions are available at www.buncombe.k12.nc.us). The buffet line opens at 11:45 a.m., and Brown will begin his remarks at 12:15 p.m. Cost is $16. Advance reservations are required, via phone or e-mail. To reserve space, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 250-2353.
• Are you leaving money on the table? The Internal Revenue Service is looking for 3,267 North Carolina taxpayers who are due refund checks worth about $5.25 million, after those checks were returned as undeliverable.
The refund checks, averaging about $1,600, can be claimed as soon as taxpayers update their addresses with the IRS. Some of us have more than one check waiting.
“Taxpayers who did not receive their refund this year should definitely contact the IRS as soon as possible so that they may get the money they are entitled,” says IRS spokesperson Mark Hanson.
The “Where’s My Refund?” tool on www.IRS.gov enables taxpayers to check the status of their refunds. You must submit your Social Security number, filing status and amount of refund shown on your 2006 return. The tool will provide the status of your refund and in some cases provide instructions on how to resolve delivery problems. A telephone version of “Where’s My Refund?” can be reached at (800) 829-1954.
• Back it on up: With businesses increasingly dependent on their electronic data, “backing up” computers has become a critical component to ensure their continuity. Netriplex, an international data-center company headquartered in Asheville, is offering a new line of offsite-backup appliances the company says makes their enterprise solution affordable for small- and medium-size businesses with as few as two computers.
“Effective disaster recovery from viruses, hard-drive failure, theft, fire etc. involves having up-to-the-minute copies of all company data both locally and offsite,” explains Netriplex’s Chief Technology Officer, Jonathan Hoppe. “If data copies are only kept locally, then a fire or natural disaster can destroy them; and if they are only kept offsite, they may not be available quickly enough when a file is missing or a hard drive crashes.” Hoppe says Netriplex’s new enterprise-backup appliance automatically compresses, encrypts and transmits all data on the network, first to the local appliance and then to a Netriplex high-security data center to ensure 100 percent data reliability and availability.
Unlike traditional, offsite data vaulting, where tapes are sent to a remote-storage facility or disaster-recovery site, Netriplex’s backup appliance is near instantaneous, Hoppe adds, making real-time data backup or disaster recovery far more effective for a fraction of the cost. IT managers can restore data to its original location or to any pre-configured disaster-recovery location worldwide within minutes, he says.
The new offsite-backup appliances come in seven capacities, starting at $99 monthly for up to 200GB of compressed data, plus a one-time licensing fee. For more information, check out www.netriplex.com