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Donut Man out as Dunkin’ set to move in

  • The Donut Man on Russell Street in Hadley has closed. The shop will become a Dunkin’ Donuts. GAZETTE Photo/CAROL LOLLIS



For The Recorder
Friday, September 01, 2017

HADLEY — After a 15-year run on busy Russell Street in the center of town, The Donut Man has closed to make way for a local franchise of national chain Dunkin’ Donuts.

The Donut Man’s owner, Joseph Santos, said he was forced out by property owner Shipman Realty Corp., despite his interest in renewing the lease.

“The case was the owner made a deal with someone else,” Santos said.

Santos continues to run three other shops, with the others in Pittsfield, Dalton and Myrtle Beach, S.C. Those three locations are not affected by the Hadley closing, Santos said when reached Thursday by telephone at the Myrtle Beach store.

Raymond Shipman of Hadley, who runs Shipman Realty Corp., declined to comment.

While a 2016 project to widen Route 9 took a toll on The Donut Man’s business at 142 Russell St., Santos said this was not a factor in the closing.

“We went through hard times when they shut the road down, but that didn’t determine we would be closing,” Santos said.

Sandra Varela, manager at the time, said in August 2016 that the multimillion-dollar reconstruction had cost the business hundreds of dollars per day, dropping daily sales from $1,000 to less than $300.

“I did love Hadley,” Santos said. “Hadley was a place I really liked.”

Meantime, plans for the property, at the corner of Route 9 and Middle Street, were presented to the town’s Planning Board in May by Michael Pereira, a local Dunkin’ Donuts franchise owner.

Efforts to reach Pereira and Dunkin’ Donuts corporate headquarters Thursday were unsuccessful.

At that Planning Board meeting, the board waived site plan review for Pereira’s plans, said clerk William Dwyer, because the only changes are the replacement of existing signs and moving the drive-thru window to the north, to allow a longer queue of vehicles.

“Otherwise there will be no exterior alterations. They’re just redoing what’s already there,” Dwyer said.

When the new store opens in the next few months, Dunkin’ will shutter its nearby location within the Philips 66 gas station convenience store at 110 Russell St., Pereira said.

“I’m planning on moving that location to go into The Donut Man,” Pereira told the board.

Hadley has a second Dunkin’ Donuts with a drive-thru at 331 Russell St., in front of Mountain Farms Mall, which Pereira also owns.

The Donut Man history

The Donut Man was founded in 2002 by Joseph Santos and his brother Tony Santos, who brought decades of experience in the doughnut industry when they opened the restaurant at the former bank building. They renovated the 1,900-square-foot interior and added a kitchen where doughnuts and other baked goods were made on site.

The sign, with the “o” depicting a doughnut with pink frosting, was designed by Tony Santos’ daughter.

The Donut Man gained popularity with residents, commuters, students and nearby workers almost immediately, opening at a time when the campus for the Pioneer Valley Performing Arts Public Charter School was in Hadley center. It was a gathering spot for some. One resident’s obituary, for example, mentioned her being part of the “Donut Man Gang.”