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Tims joins Brainerd restaurant options

Dunkin' Donuts' loss may be Tims' gain. After expectations were raised and then dashed for a new coffee and doughnut shop in Brainerd with the exit of a planned Dunkin' Donuts, Tim Hortons, or Tims for short, is bringing its menu to west Brainerd...

The Tim Hortons restaurant in St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada, from the company's media photos on its website.
The Tim Hortons restaurant in St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada, from the company's media photos on its website.

Dunkin' Donuts' loss may be Tims' gain.

After expectations were raised and then dashed for a new coffee and doughnut shop in Brainerd with the exit of a planned Dunkin' Donuts, Tim Hortons, or Tims for short, is bringing its menu to west Brainerd.

Residents and visitors will have another option for breakfast, coffee and doughnuts, as well as sandwiches and soups. Earth is currently being moved for the Tim Hortons, which is going into the vacant lot next to Wendy's restaurant on Washington Street. Close-Converse represented Tim Hortons in its pursuit of a location in the lakes area. The city of Brainerd reported the construction, by Nor-Son, is on a fast track.

The construction permit for the restaurant calls for a 2,200-square-foot building with drive-thru and about 30 parking spaces. The restaurant has an aggressive construction schedule with an opening date anticipated in November.

For months, anticipation was raised for a Dunkin' Donuts on Washington Street across from Walgreens. Dunkin' Donuts previously purchased the property that was home to a Gull Lake Glass location. Then this past spring, Dunkin' Donuts removed a sign announcing its plans to build there and the property went back on the market. Imgrund Motors is now operating from the site. At the time, sources close to the project said Dunkin' Donuts was still interested in the market but looking for another location that may better suit its needs. Another factor noted about that time was pressure on Dunkin' Donuts from McDonald's all-day breakfast, which McDonald's recently expanded.

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The proposed construction in Brainerd was part of Dunkin' Donuts return to Minnesota. Now the actual construction of Tim Hortons is part of the restaurant chain's southern expansion in Minnesota.

If Tim Hortons isn't a familiar name, that may be understandable in the Lower 48. In June, the Canadian-based company, and Canada's biggest and most popular fast-food chain, reported it was making a push into Minnesota with Restaurant Development Partners, the developer and area representative for Tim Hortons. On its website, Restaurant Development Partners notes "Tim Hortons is coming to Minnesota" as it seeks those interested in a franchise opportunity.

Tim Hortons reports there are franchising opportunities in Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania along with development agreement opportunities in Indiana, Ohio, Wisconsin, Tennessee, Kentucky, Pennsylvania and Minnesota.

The restaurant chain bears the name of its founder, Tim Horton, a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame. The restaurant chain launched in the U.S. in 1986.

"As of Sept. 28, 2014, Tim Hortons has 4,590 restaurants systemwide: 3,665 in Canada, 869 in the United States," according to the corporate website. "In the United States, there are Tim Hortons restaurants as far north as Madawaska, Maine, as far south as Ashland, Ky., as far west as Grand Forks, N.D., and as far east as Houlton, Maine."

A bordering state like Minnesota may seem a logical place for expansion. There are three Tim Hortons in Minnesota, one in Mahnomen and two in Tower along with one in Fargo, N.D. And there are expectations for additional expansion in Minnesota, including the Twin Cities.

The restaurant, which started in the coffee and doughnut business in 1964, reports it serves 2 billion cups of coffee each year and about 15 percent of Canadians, or 5.3 million people, visit Tims daily.

The restaurant's menu includes breakfast sandwiches, bagels, muffins, oatmeal, hash browns, grilled panini and other sandwiches, wraps, crispy chicken, along with hot bowls of macaroni and cheese, soup and chili, pastries, cookies, and yogurt and berries, Cold Stone Creamery ice cream, coffee, specialty beverages and, of course, doughnuts, but perhaps even more appealing, Timbits-basically doughnut holes in a variety of flavors.

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Motorists will be able to access the restaurant from side streets off Washington, also known as Highway 210, such as Northwest Sixth Street or by utilizing other bordering streets such as James Street. The Minnesota Department of Transportation did not approve direct access onto Washington Street's divided four-lane highway, which stretches through Brainerd.

Staff reporter Spenser Bickett contributed to this report.

Related Topics: BRAINERD
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