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Dunkin' Donuts to open 15 Twin Cities locations, including Woodbury

Dunkin’ Donuts plans to open more than a dozen locations East and South Metro locations in 2018.

The donut and coffee chain announced Monday that it signed an agreement with Burnsville-based Eliasco LLC to develop 15 stores in the eastern and southern Twin Cities metro, including locations in Woodbury, Eagan, St. Paul, Burnsville and other surrounding cities. The first store is slated to open in 2018.

The chain ended a 10-year-long absence from the Minnesota market with the opening of a Rochester location in 2014. Since its push back into Minnesota, Dunkin’ Donuts has announced several franchise agreements throughout the state. It also announced signed leases for stores in Roseville and New Hope this summer, marking a return to the Twin Cities metro in some years.

"We are proud to join the other Dunkin' Donuts franchisees in expanding the brand's presence in the Minneapolis-St. Paul South Metro area, and providing the opportunity for the people who live, work and visit here to experience all that Dunkin' Donuts has to offer," said Eliasco Founder and Dunkin’ Donuts franchisee Elias Saman in a statement Monday.

Saman will lead the development of each Dunkin' Donuts restaurant. His company, Eliasco LLC, owns and operates multiple local gas and convenience stores in Minnesota and Wisconsin.

To help fuel local market growth, Dunkin’ Donuts said it offers reduced royalty fees for three years and up to $5,000 in marketing support for timely store openings. Dunkin’ Donut officials added that it offers flexible store formats, such as freestanding restaurants and locations in gas stations, travel plazas, universities and retail stores.

“We are thrilled that this new franchise group has joined the Minnesota market, and know the new Dunkin' Donuts restaurants they are developing will satisfy a growing consumer demand in the communities they'll serve,” said Dunkin' Donuts' vice president of global franchising and business development Grant Benson on Monday.

Franchise deals don’t come cheap though.

According to information collected by Entrepreneur Magazine, initial investments for a Dunkin’ Donut franchise range from $217,300 to more than $1.5 million. The chain also requires a franchisee’s net worth to be $250,000.

Known for its coffee and donuts, the Massachusetts-based chain has steadily expanded its menu options by serving up wraps and sandwiches in order to compete with Starbucks and Minnesota-based Caribou.  Dunkin’ Donuts has been operating since the 1950s and has more than 11,800 restaurants in 44 countries.