If you happened to drive down University Avenue anytime between 8 p.m. on Friday and 5 a.m. on Saturday, you would have seen masses of blankets, comforters, sleeping bags and chairs dotting the property of Oxford’s brand new Dunkin’.
In celebration of their grand opening, the establishment offered free coffee for a year to their first 200 guests. Given that a sizable chunk of Oxford’s population is made up of college students, it’s no surprise that people took the challenge to be one of the lucky 200 very seriously.
The temperature fell as low as 27 degrees over the course of the night — the ground was slick in some places, and everything green in sight was glistening under a layer of ice. People were getting creative to stay warm.
With hot hands in her pockets, toe warmers, two blankets, a comforter, two pairs of pants, three jackets, two pairs of socks and UGG boots, Shawna Burge described herself as “pretty cozy.”
Burge heard about the promotion from a friend who posted about it on social media. Having arrived around 10 p.m. the day before, Burge and her group of friends were among the first 10 people to arrive on the premisis.
Interestingly enough, Burge was not particularly concerned about the coffee at stake.
“I’m here for the adventure of it,” she said. “I just thought it would be fun.”
Cayden Shelton, a fifth-year multidisciplinary studies major at UM, said that the group was essentially pressured into coming out so early. Shelton, Burge and their friend Tyler Broadway had agreed to arrive at 3 a.m. but instead found themselves outside the building five hours earlier than planned.
“We were leaving Walk On’s and saw people were already out here waiting, so we got stressed,” she said. “Then we immediately came over here.”
According to store management, the first people in line arrived as early as 8 p.m.
Max Rooney, a freshman sports management major, arrived around 1:15 a.m.. He could describe how he was feeling using only one word:
“I’m cold. Very cold,” he said. “It was something to do. I don’t have class tomorrow, so I can sleep in.”
Rooney plans to give the booklet of free coffee coupons to his mother as a gift.
By the time the line started to move just after 5 a.m., the sky was lightening over East Oxford. The first people to get their booklets had been outside for over nine hours.
“We were expecting a large turnout, but I will say — it kind of exceeded a little bit of our expectations. I was expecting 200 people, but it was over 300,” Juliana Pavanatti, Dunkin’s Director of Training, said.
The brand is no stranger to people camping out for grand openings, but they typically arrive much later. Pavanatti explained that the first people in line were there when the store closed the night before.
About her fellow Dunkin’ employees, Pavanatti described a crew in high spirits.
“It was amazing. Everybody did a very good job. All of our crew members were very energetic and happy to be here,” she said.
Dunkin’ is a national brand known for serving donuts, coffee and other breakfast items. Within the past two years, the chain soared in popularity after a collaboration with Charli D’Amelio, one of social media platform TikTok’s biggest stars.
With its soft opening and grand opening complete, Dunkin’ will now operate in Oxford under their regular store hours.