A new Dunkin ‘Donuts store opened in Sanford this morning, bringing fresh coffee and breakfast pastries to the townspeople.

The store, across from the Tramway Crossing shopping center, offered its first 25 customers free coffee for a year. Customers still have the chance to win free coffee this week in the form of a coupon book, according to a press release. The book includes 56 coupons in total for medium hot or iced coffees.

The new Dunkin ‘Donuts store has a modern layout designed to serve “the next generation of customers,” said franchise owner Pathik Patel. A new feature is a tap system that allows baristas to squeeze a fresh serving of cold brew coffee into a cup. There are taps for cold, nitro-infused brews, traditional cold-brewed coffee, and iced teas, the release said.

The store also has a drive-thru lane specifically for people who have pre-ordered online or through their phone, so customers can just drive in and pick up their order.

“When you walk in, everything is in front of you,” Patel said. “You can see the drink making process. It’s not in the background.

Patel became the owner of the Dunkin ‘Donuts on Horner Boulevard in 2019 and also owns several Dunkin’ storefronts in Fayetteville, Cameron and Aberdeen, he said.

“My family had been at Dunkin ‘since the’ 90s, so I kind of grew up with it,” Patel said, adding that he bought his first store in 2016 after several other businesses.

Patel said Sanford is a good place for another Dunkin store due to the growth the city is experiencing. He sees Sanford as Raleigh’s next big suburb after Cary and Apex.

“Sanford is the next hub, and now with Google and Apple coming to Raleigh, people are flocking to Sanford,” he said. “Sanford is definitely going to grow over the next couple of years. The previous owner was thinking about all of this, so he started the project in 2019. The (coronavirus) pandemic delayed it, but we finally finished it when we took over.

In an official ribbon cutting for Dunkin ‘this morning, Patel presented a check for $ 7,500 to the North Carolina USO, an organization tasked with supporting the military and women statewide. Of the donation, $ 5,000 will go to the USO’s Community Connections: Meals program, which provides lunches and dinners for members of the military at Fort Bragg and elsewhere.

“The USO contributes just about everything to these families in the military, so giving back to this organization, literally, we are giving back to our customers,” Patel said. “Most of our clients (here) are in the military or have someone (a family member) in the military.”

Dunkin ‘Donuts, at 2231 Jefferson Davis Highway, is open daily from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m.