Friday, January 12, 2018


Several times a week I treat myself on the way to work by stopping in at the Burtonsville Dunkin Donuts. The employees there have come to know me. I pretty much have a standing order. A large coffee, just cream, and a toasted cinnamon raisin bagel with just a little bit of cream cheese. In warmer weather it’s iced coffee. These folks are so good that they put my bagel in the toaster when I walk in the door.

I smile at them. They smile at me. I tell them how great they are at what they do. I really love that little place.

Yesterday I learned something that may just change my morning coffee routine, however. Here’s the news from OMCA Chair Jonathan Edelson:

 Now, we are pleased to announce and welcome a new merchant to the Village Center. Oakland Mills will be the home of a Dunkin Donuts in the former Columbia Bank building across from The Other Barn!   

This is huge news for the Oakland Mills Village Center. It’s not simply about filling a vacant space, although that in itself is wonderful. And it’s not just about donuts. (Although everyone who knows me knows I love donuts.)

It means that a national brand is willing to let a franchisee take a risk on a business in Oakland Mills. There’s a lot of research and analytics that go into these business decisions. I know from having served on the OMCA Board that a business location must meet a certain threshold of projected foot traffic, for instance. We’ve had feelers from other hopeful franchisees in the past that were rejected by the parent company. It’s frustrating.

This new Dunkin Donuts in Oakland Mills is going to be wildly successful. Who are its potential patrons?

OM residents on their way to work
OM Village Center employees
OMHS teachers and students
Families who patronize the Columbia Ice Rink
Families attending sporting events at Blandair Park
HoCo residents attending events at The Other Barn
Residents who are about to walk over the newly renovated Route 29 footbridge, or just getting back 

And that’s just what I can think of off the top of my head. 

But before it can be wildly successful, someone at corporate headquarters has to run the numbers and then decide that our Village Center is worth taking a chance on. “It’s just business,” one often hears. 

For us in Oakland Mills, it’s so much more than business. It’s about supporting a vibrant, healthy Village Center where people want to shop and hang out. A positive sense of place. I think that our Village is going to give this new business an extremely warm welcome.

I don’t know if I can give up my second family in Burtonsville. They’ve become a part of how I start my workdays. But I definitely want to invest in our new OM business the way they are investing in us. 

Somehow, I think I’ll find a way.

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