by Larry Austin
Dunkin' Donuts restaurant owner and manager Paul Orsino didn't need fancy market research to tell him that opening a restaurant on Grand Island would work. He only had to listen to his customers.
Orsino, a Niagara Falls native, owns the Dunkin' Donuts restaurant at the corner of Niagara Falls Boulevard and 66th Street, where he said he has received pleas from Islanders who visited his mainland spot asking him for a Dunkin' Donuts to call their own.
"We've gotten a lot of requests from customers that live on the Island that come over to our location there and who wanted a location on Grand Island," Orsino said.
Their wish turned into Orsino's command in 2012. He opened a new Dunkin' Donuts inside the Sunoco station at 2024 Grand Island Blvd. immediately after New Year's Day and now serves guests from 5 a.m. to midnight seven days a week. A drive-thru is available as well.
"The demographics called for it also, but we've actually had a lot of customers that thanked us for coming to the Island as well since we opened," Orsino said.
The Island gratitude and hospitality to businesses that stretch across the river threshold from the mainland is not lost on Orsino.
"I'm learning that now that I'm here. It's nice, actually. Everybody here is nice."
Orsino has nine locations and said he would employ 15 to 20 people at the Island restaurant. He anticipates another tenant serving pizza and Italian food will join Dunkin' Donuts "all under one roof."
The new Grand Island restaurant is approximately 860 square feet, seats 30 guests and is installing wireless Internet soon. Orsino is set to open another Dunkin' Donuts in Sanborn in March.
According to the company, Dunkin' Donuts is the leading baked goods and coffee chain in the world, selling 1.5 billion cups of hot and iced coffee and more than 1 billion donuts and donut hole treats every year. Today, there are approximately 10,000 Dunkin' Donuts restaurants worldwide.