Argentine doughnut shop lands $500,000 federal grant

Opinion column

by Mary Rupert

A $500,000 federal grant will make it possible for Dunkin’ Donuts to open a franchise shop in the Argentine neighborhood of Kansas City, Kan.

The grant to the Argentine Neighborhood Development Association was announced this week. It is through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Community Economic Development office.

The new shop, to be built near 18th Street Expressway and Metropolitan Avenue, is one more advancement for economic development in the Argentine area, where two grocery stores, a dollar store and a new library branch have been built within the past few years.

After an extended effort to get healthy foods to the Argentine area, at first glance, it may seem strange that the Department of Health and Human Services is giving a grant to build a doughnut shop. The Wyandotte Daily asked Ann Brandau Murguia, executive director of ANDA, about it.

“The grant is specifically for economic development, job creation for families,” she said. It targets disadvantaged families in low-income areas. In this case, the grant is for “economic health, not physical health,” she added.

According to the grant announcement, the project will create about 20 jobs.

Murguia said there would be a program to work with physically or mentally challenged low-income persons for these jobs. Also, there could be jobs created for teens and families in a low-income bracket. For example, she said the program could target a 16-year-old youth who could benefit from the job because his family is in a low-income category. The youth could work there, receive management training and be provided with experience that could lead to other job opportunities.

Transportation to and from work is an issue for low-income families, and people who live in the Argentine area would be able to walk to work at the doughnut shop, she said.

She hopes the shop will be completed by next spring. The franchisee will be Jen Benjamin with Verona Key, who have other Dunkin’ Donuts franchises in the Kansas City area, she said.

The top selling item at Dunkin’ Donuts shops, according to Murguia, is coffee.

The food there, depending on the consumer’s choice, is not necessarily bad for health. Murguia pointed out that the doughnut shop offers healthy choices as well as the traditional doughnuts.

Dunkin’ Donuts now offers a healthy menu, with a multigrain bagel, and a whole-wheat bagel. There is also an egg sandwich on a multigrain bagel option, Murguia added. The Dunkin’ Donuts online menu also lists a low-fat “egg white flatbread” option with only 280 calories and an “egg and cheese on English muffin” with only 240 calories.

This will be the second HHS Community Economic Development grant to the Argentine area. One also was received for the Save-A-Lot grocery store.

Murguia credited U.S. Rep. Kevin Yoder’s office as being very helpful with these projects. Rep. Yoder’s office always gives a letter of support for economic development initiatives, she said. “He’s been a great advocate for us.”

Murguia also said the Dunkin’ Donuts store will be the only doughnut shop in the Argentine area. There haven’t been any doughnut shops or bakeries willing to locate there in the past few decades, Murguia said. Finally, the Argentine area will have a place to buy a doughnut or bagel.

To reach Mary Rupert, editor, email

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