Baker's Dozen of Dunkin Donuts Changing Stripes

Canadian upstart Tim Hortons honing in on Gotham

By Scott Ross
|  Friday, Jul 10, 2009  |  Updated 1:16 PM EDT
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Baker's Dozen of Dunkin Donuts Changing Stripes

If Tim Hortons can make it here, he can make it anywhere.

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Having already beaten back an incursion from Krispy Kreme, Dunkin' Donuts finds itself confronted with a new challenger, this one from the Great White North.

Sometime after closing up shop Friday shop night, 13 Dunkin' Donuts around the city will begin a transformation. By Monday they will have been reborn as Tim Hortons dough nut shops, including the Penn Station outpost which will be serving free coffee all day.

The switch came about following acrimony between the Riese Organization, which operates the 13 shops in question, and the Dunkin Donuts parent company. The trouble started a decade ago when the New York Post ran a front-page photo of a mouse enjoying a nosh at one of the Riese-run Dunkin Donuts.

"It got really heavy-handed -- they acted as if no other Dunkin' Donuts ever had a mouse run through it," Dennis Riese told the New York Post.

A lawsuit brought by Dunkin Donuts was settled out of court five years ago when they ripped up Riese's noncompete in return for Riese extending his franchise commitment. It was this that paved the way for Tim Hortons' move into New York.

Tim Horton was a Canadian hockey great who helped the Toronto Maple Leafs win four Stanley Cups before opening his first donut shop in 1964. Ten years later he died in a car accident, but the chain lived on and now boasts more than 3,400 outlets.

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