Beloved employee launches new Dunkin'

Laurel Leader

“Let’s do it.”

So proclaimed Dee Slater – better known as Ms. Dee to her many friends and fans – when the longtime Dunkin’ Donuts employee cut the ribbon on Oct. 12 at the new Dunkin’ location along Route 1 southbound between Montgomery Street and Laurel Avenue.

Though Slater will continue working at the Dunkin’ location on 14903 Baltimore Ave., on Route 1 northbound, her nearly four decades of service to the brand and infectiously upbeat personality earned her the honorific duty at the grand opening of the new location.

The event featured Washington Capitals cheerleaders, the Caps’ mascot Slapshot (complete with giant Stanley Cup ring), Dunkin’s mascots Cuppy and Sprinkles, and City Council President Mike Leszcz. The morning was blustery, but the weather couldn’t blow away the enthusiasm with which the company launched the new Laurel location.

The new Dunkin’ – as it is now known, sans “Donuts” – is the first “next generation” store the brand has opened in Maryland.

“We’re now on a first-name basis with America,” said Colleen Krygiel, Dunkin’s integrated marketing manager.

The new stores are focused on “to go” guests, who can order via Dunkin’s mobile app and pick up in store or via its drive thru.

“Laurel runs on Dunkin’” a sign inside the store proclaims, and indeed the spot has been buzzing many a recent morning. The new location is owned by Massachusetts-based DEKK Group, the same franchise that operates the other Laurel Dunkin’ locations and more than 160 Dunkin’ locations nationwide. The company does not anticipate it will draw business away from those other Laurel locations.

Some in Old Town have expressed concern about the new Dunkin’s impact on Route 1’s iconic Little Tavern location, which serves both donuts and mini-hamburgers. The Main Street corridor has also seen a flourishing of coffee shops in recent years with the arrival of More than Java Café, Sip at C Street and Ragamuffins Coffee House.

“We’re looking to be part of the community,” said James Stanley, of the DEKK Group. “We wouldn’t want to put anybody out of business. We’re here for the partnerships.”

The 100th anniversary of the end of the War to End All Wars is fast approaching, and the Laurel Historical Society is commemorating the centenary with a look at the final battle of the World War I. The Meuse-Argonne Offensive, which lasted 47 days between September and November 1918, claimed the lives of 26,000 Americans, including three from Laurel. LHS members Wayne Dzwonchyk and Charles Hessler will discuss those harrowing closing days of the war on Thursday, Nov. 8 at 7 p.m. during the presentation “Meuse-Argonne to Armistice: The Final Days of WW1.” The discussion will be held at the Laurel Pool Room, at the corner of 9th and Main streets. The event is free, with a suggested donation of $2 for non-LHS members.

The time for Wreaths Across America – which honors those who have served in the U.S. military by placing Christmas wreaths on their graves – is almost here again. Lisa Wright launched WAA at Old Town’s Ivy Hill Cemetery last year and support was strong. Volunteers are needed on Nov. 11 to place flags on veterans’ graves in preparation for the Dec. 15 ceremony and wreath laying, as well as at that ceremony itself. To volunteer, go to wreathsacrossamerica.org and type in Ivy Hill or zip code 20707 in the location search tab.

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