The new $1.5 million Dunkin’-Baskin Robbins will open around Christmas Eve, something people traveling along North Main Street probably wondered about when they saw the 21-foot-tall green alien holding the store sign, erected Tuesday at the corner of the property on West Eighth Street.
“We wanted to demonstrate how excited we are about coming into Roswell and being a part of this community,” said Murad Fazel, one of the managing partners of NMR LLC, the franchisee of the coffee, ice cream and sandwich shop. “We wanted to have a true landmark that will sit here for years to come, and this will be a perfect spot for people to come here and take pictures. And people from all over the world visit Roswell, not just from around the country, but from around the world, and we wanted to make our presence here.”
Fazel and his partners, Amin Habib and Mejinder “Mac” Bhambra, who have worked for 30 years with the Dunkin’ Donuts brand, as it was formerly known, have three other locations in Albuquerque. They also own restaurants in the Chicago area. They intend to open another 15 restaurants in New Mexico within five years.
“We have talked about having another one in Roswell,” said Fazel. “But I think over the next six months to a year, we are not going to actively search for anything right now. Maybe we will come back to revisit it in a couple of years to see, but definitely that will be an option.”
Clover Signs of Brazil, Indiana, oversaw creation of the 2,500-pound alien, which is made of foam with some steel poles and plates in strategic places, including the hands, which hold up a restaurant emblem and make the entire sign — from alien feet to lighted marquee — 26 feet tall.
“This is the first alien we have done,” said Andy Allender. “We’ve been in business for 30 years, so we have done some interesting signs. But this is the first alien.”
The alien figure was created in Watertown, South Dakota, and shipped in pieces before being assembled and erected in Roswell Tuesday.
The 2,600-square-foot restaurant will seat about 46 inside and will have a small outdoor area and a drive-through. About 45 people are expected to be hired, with interviews being conducted now and applications to be taken at the restaurant Monday.
The building, overseen by Hart Construction of Albuquerque, is scheduled to be finished in a couple of weeks. The restaurant opening is planned for the end of December, with a scheduled Jan. 12 grand opening celebration to include give-aways and donations to local organizations. Fazel said that an alien-naming contest also might be a part of that day — along with some food and drinks, of course.
Senior Writer Lisa Dunlap can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 311, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.