Downtown Dunkin’ closing doors, plans move
Dunkin’ Donuts, long considered an institution along Howe Avenue, will be closing its doors later this month as the building in which it has been housed for nearly two decades will soon be razed.
Mark Dymerski — who, along with his father, Bill, and brother, Jeff, own this Dunkin’ Donuts location and ones in Stratford and Newtown — said this Dunkin’ Donuts will be relocating to the new plaza along the river at 131 Canal Street. That location, however, will not be ready for occupancy for three months.
“It is bittersweet leaving here, but it is going to be in a nice location,” said Dymerski, adding that his Dunkin’ Donuts will close Dec. 29 with plans to reopen in the new site in March.
The Planning & Zoning Commission recently approved a Planned Development District (PDD) for the property at 427 Howe Avenue — present home of the Dunkin’ Donuts. The property owner plans to raze the present structure to open the new year, with plans to construct a five-story mixed retail/commercial and residential development.
Dymerski said he had been in talks with Al Da Silva, owner of 502 Howe Avenue, whose plans call for razing the present Webster Bank building and constructing a five-story structure with first-floor commercial space and four levels with a total of 56 market-rate apartments. That deal never materialized, said Dymerski, because he could not wait more than a year to reopen the business.
“I really believe there will be a positive impact from the redevelopment coming to downtown,” said Dymerski. “We were one of the first to come into the downtown years ago. Our family is from Shelton … we live here in Shelton, so we were happy to be involved in the community.”
In the 18 years since, Dymerski said he has not only enjoyed working alongside his employees — some of whom have been with him since the store’s opening — but also chatting with those people who are more than regulars, they are family.
Dymerski said he has enjoyed watching families coming with children for years, seeing the youngsters grow up right in front of his eyes and some even coming to work for him.
“I am so happy to be part of the community and give back,” said Dymerski, adding that his family has donated to the Daughters of the American Revolution’s veterans and donuts program, post-prom events, road races and the Boys & Girls Club, to name just a few, over the years. “We’re a part of Shelton. We’re not looking to get the money and run. We believe in this community and love to give back.”
While excited for the move, Dymerski said he remains heartbroken about his employees and hopes most will be able to return when the store reopens in three months.
“Business has been really good here,” said Dymerski. “We were hoping to move from this spot to the other without any interruption, but the building owner wants to move quickly."
Dymerski said the new location off Canal Street will be 1,800 square feet and offer a “nice view of the river. I know it may be a challenge to get people to drive off Howe Avenue to come to us, but we have a great following, so I believe it is something we can overcome.”