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New Paltz Dunkin Donuts is Like Family

"Where everybody knows your name"

dunkin donuts, moms run on coffee, coffee, family, new paltz, hudson valley, mom blog, mom life, writers life

In a world of endless appointments, meetings, social media, and next day delivery, we have become so accustomed to not living in the moment, but rather for the next moment. I personally love my technology, WiFi, smart phone, and digital everything. And when it comes to coffee, and you guys know I LOVE my coffee, I will travel out of my way to find a drive-thru to avoid interrupting my perfectly timed schedule of everything.

When my son started preschool in September, I started bringing my laptop to the nearest Dunkin Donuts so I could continue my morning ritual of fast coffee while I worked. This particular shop in New Paltz doesn’t have a drive-thru window which I didn’t think much of until I started seeing a really amazing thing happening….the customers, and tons of them, smiling and laughing with the staff like they were all friends. Every. Single. Morning. I felt like I was watching an episode of Cheers.

dunkin donuts, moms run on coffee, coffee, family, new paltz, hudson valley, mom blog, mom life, writers life

Despite the inconvenience of having to park, every single customer walks in smiling and ready to banter back and forth with the folks behind the counter. So many of the customers are regulars and many of their orders are memorized, making the morning stop feel even more friendly. But it wasn’t until I visited the inside of another Dunkin, one with a drive through, that I came to truly appreciate the incredible shop that I had become my home office.

One night, to get caught up on some work, I visited another shop closer to home. I ordered a coffee from a zombie. It was like no one had ever talked to another human being before. I was a transaction. As the line of cars outside came and went, the staff inside were quiet and stale. I don’t think I had ever been inside a Dunkin for longer than it took to get my order, and that’s when it hit me.

This is why my Dunkin is so different. This is why my Dunkin is fun and friendly, where customers are always greeted with smiles and most of their orders are made before they even get up to the counter. My Dunkin doesn’t have a drive-thru.

And the family-style atmosphere extends well beyond the counter as well. Not too far in September the shop manager, Christine Vanhouse, pulled up a seat next to me, introduced herself, and said she noticed me here every day and wanted to know what I was working on.

I told Christine I come here to write, but I stay because I feel welcomed. And that’s exactly why she loves working here. “If customers walk in in a bad mood and leave smiling, then I did my job here.” She tells her staff to treat everyone like a friend stopping by for coffee. And the wave of smiling people in and out all day long proves they are doing just that. She continues, “I have such a good crew; I stand back and appreciate what I have.”

One barista in particular, Anne, is truly remarkable at her job. She memorized my order after maybe my third visit, but she knows hundreds of orders.  Sometimes she finds something “unique about the person to link to their unique order,” while other folks she sees everyday so it’s easy to remember. Either way, something as simple as remembering someone’s specific order makes a customer feel special. I know that’s how I feel when I visit the shop. I’m not a transaction here.

dunkin donuts, moms run on coffee, coffee, family, new paltz, hudson valley, mom blog, mom life, writers life

This is also the first shop I learned the difference between flavor shots and flavor swirls. Ever notice how certain shops can’t seem to get the order “right?” There’s a difference and Anne was the first person to ask me how I wanted my coffee and explain I had options. She wanted to make sure I got what I really wanted!

If you ever have time and find yourself in New Paltz, stop into the Dunkin on Main Street. Check out the customers and baristas alike laughing and smiling, and get your coffee made exactly how you like it. Just like Christine says, “If we were all able to laugh and joke and make customers happy, then we had a good day; keep that family mojo going that's what is the memorable part to me.”

Me too. Thanks guys! See you tomorrow!!

Flavor Shots vs Swirls - Shots have no sugar no cream, just flavoring. The Swirl has cream and sugar and is sweet tasting. You can also choose how many pumps of either. A large normally gets 4 pumps, but you can ask for more or less. This way, instead of using the very subjective “a lot” or “a little”, you can ask for the specific number of pumps and get perfect coffee everytime.

Rielly is a part-time writer and full-time mama to an adorable autistic toddler. Her favorite hobbies include naptime, drinking coffee, and trips to Target. Follow her online @riellygrey.

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