Opposition Continues To Proposed Drive-Thru Dunkin’ Donuts

Austin Wheelock was one of three speakers at Monday night's council meeting to voice concerns regarding a proposed Dunkin' Donuts in downtown Oswego.

Austin Wheelock was one of three speakers at Monday night's council meeting to voice concerns regarding a proposed Dunkin' Donuts in downtown Oswego.

OSWEGO – The Oswego Common Council sailed through a relatively light agenda Monday night. However, the item receiving most of the comments wasn’t on the agenda.

During the public session, three speakers stepped to the microphone to voice their opposition to a proposed Dunkin’ Donuts in downtown.

Austin Wheelock was one of three speakers at Monday night's council meeting to voice concerns regarding a proposed Dunkin' Donuts in downtown Oswego.
Austin Wheelock was one of three speakers at Monday night’s council meeting to voice concerns regarding a proposed Dunkin’ Donuts in downtown Oswego.

Earlier this month, the Oswego Planning Board tabled action on a proposal to erect a Dunkin’ Donuts at 275 W. First St.

Several residents voiced concerns at that meeting.

The speakers Monday night pointed out they aren’t against donuts; they have concerns about the impact the new business would have on established businesses just down the street and traffic, especially if Dunkin’ was allowed to operate a drive-thru at the busy intersection of West First and Utica streets.

Ranjit Dighe said he understands the decision is in the city’s hands. However, the concerns of the city residents should hold some sway, he told the councilors.

“How better to gauge the character of the community that to hear from the people who live, work and enjoy (the community),” he said.

Oswego has something that a lot of other places lack, and that is a good main street downtown, he added.

“Our downtown is really something special and it’s gotten almost continuously better,” he said. “The downtown is likely Oswego’s biggest asset.”

Having a restaurant at the gateway of the downtown would damage that asset, he said.

Austin Wheelock said he has reviewed the city’s 2020 Plan and the Downtown Revitalization Initiative. Neither of which, he said, has a section saying it supports a fast food restaurant in downtown.

“We should try to find the best use for that site, even if it takes a little bit longer,” he said.

Unless something is done proactively, this sort of issue (fast food places with drive-thrus) will keep popping up, he added.

He said he has talked with “several local businesses that are concerned about this being approved a couple blocks from them,” he said.

There are already more than a half dozen local businesses in that general area that currently sell coffee and baked goods.

Mark Slosek said the city should be looking to enhance the historic aspect of the downtown area and also try to make the city more inviting to pedestrians and friendly to visitors.

“My question to you is, is placing a drive-thru Dunkin’ Donuts on West First Street consistent with this city’s 2020 vision?” he told the councilors.

The citizens need to be a vital part of the decision making process on this, he added.


  1. Auburn has 3 Dunkin’ Donuts. One is microscopic and in the center of their historic downtown. They squeezed a Wegman’s in there too at some point. It a 1/2 block away from a little dining car (The Hunter Diner). If this is replicated, it would not be offensive or stand-out-ish in manor. Tim Horton’s came and went and upon that site, now sits what I would consider an offensive build on the river-front. Then again, so is the former Education building, old Marine Midland Bank, and others. There has to be some sort of leeway here.

  2. Perhaps Dunkin Donuts should have moved into the site and store where Tim Horton’s was on the East Side. This site will add more congestion to traffic at an already very busy intersection. Often times people get confused going north on first street through this intersection as it is not very clear. Really there is no need for 3 Dunkin Donuts in Oswego.

  3. Dunkin didn’t move in Tim Horton’s, I suspect, because there already IS a wonderful coffee place across the street (Oswego Tea Company).

    I agree with others who have pointed out that we need to protect our owner-run businesses such as Port City Bakery/Taste the World/Cupcaker’s Bakery and around the block the LONGGGGGG established Coffee Connection! I know that there is consumer loyalty to all the above, but the truth is, what business can’t benefit from tourists and college students finding these places out for themselves with the additional financial support from out of towners?

    BIG boxes are eating up our regional places and it is not often good for the community because it can deter owner-run places from attempting to compete. THINK about what our downtown might look like with MORE owner-run novelty/niche businesses to draw in tourists???

    Big Boxes have advertising budgets that small business can only dream of, and pricing that is difficult to compete with since they can buy inventory in million gallon bulk!

    But smaller owner owned and run places have to offer something the DUNKIN’S of the world never can, customer service and often elite products that cater to the more sophisticated palate! Nothing competes with Heidi’s Bavarian style baked goods, or Taste the World’s specialty items, esp. coffees! Who doesn’t love a freshly baked cupcake not from chemical ingredients (you don’t want to know what is IN those fast food often pre-prepped powders where water is added and the cupcakes/cookies are poured out and baked!).

    As a small business owner myself who sells tea you can only get in metropolitan areas (as well as one you can get in the grocery…;0) for a lower price to be honest), I know how difficult competition can be. Even so, I’ll pay a dollar or more for an item that tastes like you are on vacation! And when tourists imbibe in these products, the tax dollars can only help the Oswego economy get MORE tourists!
    Who vacations somewhere there are only big boxes? I’d say not many if they have the same ol’ same ol’ at home!?

    So, let’s pass on Dunkin. We have enough of them close enough for
    even those on foot to frequent if that is what they want! And this one, you’d need a car! How about thinking OUTSIDE the box at what could go into that prime location??? Something attention getting in a GOOD way!

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