Cynthia Cornish and Greg Deninger, both of San Diego, waited two hours to be the first in line at Camp Pendleton’s Dunkin Donuts, which opened Thursday morning.
The Dunkin Donuts, which opened alongside the new Marine Corps Exchange, attracted Cornish who loves blueberry doughnuts.
But when the Opening Day of the new doughnut shop came, Cornish said it was "hard to choose."
With no Dunkin Donuts in the area, Cornish and Deninger—a New Jersey native— would drive to Las Vegas and Phoenix to get their fix. The Camp Pendleton store is the only one in California, said Bert Hayenga, a regional Dunkin Donuts franchisee.
“We’re more excited about this than ever before,” he said. “We (will) use this as a launch pad in California.”
Additional stores, he said, could eventually open on Camp Pendleton and in the region. He expects the local franchise to be in the top five of the 47 he runs in the Southwest United States.
The doughnut shop is not limited to Marines, base public officials said. Civilians are allowed to enter Camp Pendleton to purchase food.
The Dunkin Donuts is part of the new 147,000-square-foot Marine Corps Exchange—the largest in the service. Military members and retirees will be able to shop at the department store. The retail space also features a Yogurtland, an Apple shop and a florist.
The Exchange is located just inside the Main Gate off I-5 across from Pacific Plaza and Commissary. It is open from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.
Crowds lined up for both the Exchange and Dunkin Donuts. Various people in line said they were picking up doughnuts for coworkers, including Cpl. Aly Cooley—an Alabama native who drives to Pensacola to visit Dunkin Donuts while on leave.
She waited in line to get exactly “a crapton of doughnuts” for members of her unit. They also asked her for Munchkin doughnut holes. Cooley— a chocolate doughnut fan— never had a Munchkin, she said.
“I never get that technical,” she said. “I just get a doughnut.”