For doughnut lovers, the wait is nearly over.

The new Dunkin’ Donuts at Central Entrance and Basswood Avenue in Duluth will open June 24. A ribbon-

cutting and grand-opening celebration will follow on July 7.

The opening was confirmed last week by Matt Johnson, construction manager for the string of Dunkin’ Donuts stores coming to the Northland in the next few years. Store hours will be 6 a.m. to

10 p.m. daily.

The Duluth store’s opening will be followed by a store opening in Superior around Sept. 1 at the strip mall at 3110 Tower Ave. Buildout of the Superior space that formerly housed Mr. Movies will begin at the end of the month, Johnson said.

It will be the second Dunkin’ Donuts to open in Minnesota after the doughnut and coffeehouse chain’s 15-year absence. In its Minnesota comeback, the first Dunkin’ Donuts opened in Rochester last year.

The Duluth store is the first for owner Donco LLC. Behind the limited liability company is Brian Weidendorf of Hinckley, who bought the multistore Dunkin’ Donuts franchise for the region encompassing much of northern Minnesota, Northwestern Wisconsin and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. After stores open in Duluth and Superior, the company plans to open five more Dunkin’ Donuts in the region within the next three years -  in Ashland, Brainerd, Cloquet, Grand Rapids and another one in Duluth, Johnson said.

“We are working on the locations at this time,” Johnson said.

The second Duluth store probably will be downtown or somewhere on the eastern side of Duluth, he said. So in 2017, Donco will have seven stores in the Northland.

Construction on the Duluth store began in late March at 104 W. Central Entrance, starting with the demolition of the former Warehouse Liquor building on the site. The new 2,800-square-foot coffee shop was built on the former building’s foundation.

 The store has indoor seating, a drive-thru and about 20 parking spaces. It will offer an expanded all-day menu, including hot and cold beverages, breakfast sandwiches, wake-up wraps and - of course - doughnuts and other bakery items.

The company has hired about 40 employees for the store and continues to hire crew members, Johnson said.

The Superior store will be of similar size and offer the same menu, he said.

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