Though technically open-for-business since early December (the “soft opening”), the new Eastside Dunkin’ Donuts franchise at Deer Creek Village Shopping Center (corner of Rainier and McDowell) finally served up its official grand opening on Tuesday, Feb. 6, with a pre-dawn presentation of a $250 gift card to Charlie Poore, of Sonoma. Having heard that free donuts were being offered to the first person in line, the Friedman’s Home Improvement store employee made the drive in the dark, expecting to be one of many.

When he arrived at around 4:30, he found that he was the first.

“I thought there’d be a crowd,” he said. “But I also thought it was opening at 5:30, so I was here really early.”

At 5 a.m., after being greeted by franchise co-owner Yogi Triverdi, Poore was given his gift card, and immediately used it to purchase the first of many donuts.

“I guess I’ll be visiting Petaluma more,” said Poore with a smile, allowing that $250 will buy a lot of donuts. With the plan being to give the first 100 visitors prizes, the next 99 visitors to the store were given cups, $2 gift cards, and free samples. “We’ve been waiting for this day,” said Trivedi, who opened the Petaluma store on Dec. 20, with co-owner Nick Bhatt. The two also own a Dunkin’ Donuts franchise in American Canyon. “We are the only Dunkin’ in Sonoma County,” added Trivedi, who says that he and Bhatt hope to open up a store in Santa Rosa in the near future.

Later that morning, at an 8 a.m. ribbon cutting, Mayor David Glass told of his own Dunkin’ Donuts memories, from early in his previous career as a baseball announcer.

“Dunkin’ Donuts is very special to me,” he said. “The first job I ever got in baseball, I had that meeting at a Dunkin’ Donuts in El Paso.”

Gazing up at the enormous logo affixed overhead on the building - which he pointed out only uses the word “Dunkin’” - Glass joked. “When I saw that the word ‘donuts’ is no longer a part of the logo, I got worried a little. I thought maybe they’d stopped selling donuts since the last time I visited one.” Praising the franchise for bringing 60 new jobs to town, Glass said, “This is a business that supports the communities it becomes a part of.” Shortly after, Trivedi presented Redwood Credit Union’s Janna Boyle with a check for $1,000, to go toward Redwood’s Fire Relief Fund.