The Wolak Group Timeline

  1. 1967
    Ed Wolak begins his first job as a porter at Dunkin’ alongside his mother and sister in Manchester, New Hampshire. more >


    … That part time job became the starting point for a young man looking to begin his own work history at the age of 16.  Building a company may not have been the first thought of this young man starting his working career, however, the Dunkin’ brand and all it had to offer inspired this young entrepreneur to build a company founded on family values with the mission of becoming a company that offered others the opportunity to begin a career and grow alongside him.

  2. 1968
    Ed is ready for his next challenge and is promoted to the baker position. He meets his future wife Debby, one of the donut finishers. more >


    He quickly learned other aspects of the business by observing the other employees and being ready to take on the next opportunity when the door opened.  He offered to cover a baking shift one night when his manager needed help.  By making sure that he was ready and willing to take the next challenge, he was promoted to a full-time baker position.  While increasing his skills and becoming an expert baker, his next two steps helped to shape his life.  A young lady that finished donuts caught his eye.  Debby would turn out to be the love of his life, confidant, and strength through the years and became his wife in 1976.

  3. 1974
    Ed earns his Associates in Business Management in '72, then his Bachelors with a double major in Business Management & Marketing from Southern New Hampshire University. The same year, he takes a management position at Dunkin’ in Nashua, New Hampshire and is quickly promoted to a General Manager of 3 locations.


    Through earning his Associates in Business Management in ’72, then his Bachelors with a double major in Business Management & Marketing and a minor in Finance in 1974 from Southern New Hampshire University,  Ed became particularly intrigued with the concept of franchising and wrote a term paper on it that he was very proud of, thus setting his sights on what his ultimate plan for the future could be.  

  4. 1975
    Ed purchases his first location in Portland, Maine and by doing so, takes the first step to creating The Wolak Group.


  5. 1976
    Marries Debby and begins his own family.


  6. 1980
    Ed and Debby add onto their family with the birth of their daughter, Kim.


    Ed and Debby add onto their family with the birth of their daughter, Kim. 

  7. 1983
    The Wolak Group opens it’s first Dunkin’ located on “self-developed real estate”. The site was acquired, permitted, and constructed by The Wolak Group. Ed continues this development strategy into the future and employs it with most of his locations.


    The Wolak Group’s success as a developer and operator of Dunkin’ restaurants has been accompanied by a successful history of acquiring and developing commercial real estate.  Since 1983, most of our Dunkin’ restaurants have been opened on self-developed real estate.  Most of the sites are standalone Dunkin’s, although several of our sites include multi-tenant buildings.

  8. 1994
    Kim officially joins the organization for the first time as a crewmember and baker in Westbrook, Maine.


  9. 1995
    The Wolak Group opens their 8th location in Maine and New Hampshire.


  10. 1998
    Ed expands The Wolak Group to a 3rd state, New York. The first location opens in North Syracuse.


  11. 2000
    Ed Wolak is honored to accept the Retail Excellence Award from Dunkin Brands. Kim becomes a franchisee at The Wolak Group.


  12. 2005
    The Wolak Group continues to expand in New York. Tom and Ed work together to develop and open a central manufacturing location that can service up to 120 locations in Syracuse.


  13. 2007
    The Wolak Group totals 51 stores with the acquisition of a large group of stores in Watertown, NY


  14. 2010
    Kim rejoins the organization after honing her business skills in California. Kim becomes the Chief Operating Officer specializing in brand development, operations management, and direct to consumer marketing and sales. Ed is honored once again by Dunkin Brands with the annual Developer of the Year award.


  15. 2012
    The Wolak Group totals 75 stores on December 30th with the opening of the newest location in Whitney Point, NY.


  16. 2013
    The Wolak Group is honored to be chosen as an award recipient from the Maine Institute for Family-Owned Business with their Community Service Award.


  17. 2014
    The Wolak Group is honored with two awards in the same year: Outstanding Corporate Philanthropist from the Association of Fundraising Professionals of Central New York and the annual Philanthropy award for the Northeast Region from Dunkin’ Brands.


  18. 2015
    Ed partners with Southern New Hampshire University to offer all Shift managers and above a chance to earn a college degree for free. This carries Ed’s people vision moving forward enhancing business and leadership skills for employees as they grow both personally and professionally. more >


    This partnership allowed all interested employees to earn a degree from an accredited college completely online.  This is a unique program that allows employees to utilize their work experience to complete modules and master competencies that are equivalent to classroom work at their own pace with support from mentors at SNHU.  This program was the first to be offered in the Dunkin’ Brands system and has served as an inspiration for other franchisees.

  19. 2016
    For Ed’s continued efforts to enhance education through scholarships for others including his employees, Southern New Hampshire University dedicated the Edward S. Wolak Library Learning Commons on their campus in Manchester, New Hampshire. In the same year, Ed is awarded the Most Valuable Performer award for Single Brand Leadership from Multi-Unit Franchisee magazine.


  20. 2017
    The Wolak Group opens their own Career Development Center. The CDC offers a unique learning experience for managers in the company through the ability to blend classroom learning and real time restaurant experience.


    The CDC boasts a high-tech smart board, a 20-seat classroom, offices, and a conference room.  It has a unique ability to tie classroom training into real store experience.  There are many exciting ideas on how to continue to utilize this classroom option in the future.

  21. 2018
    The Wolak Group totals 92 locations with the opening of our first Next Gen Dunkin location in East Syracuse. Ed is honored to be chosen for two awards in this year: New Hampshire Boys and Girls Club Hall of Fame Award as well as the Southern New Hampshire University Alumni Hall of Fame Award for his outstanding contributions to his profession, community, and to SNHU.


  22. 2019
    The Wolak Group totals 97 locations and employs 1950 people! Exciting plans are underway to keep our momentum going!


    The Wolak Group strives to deliver a great value to its customers and give them the fuel to keep them running throughout their day, but our primary focus remains the same, our employees.  We are the big company that still feels like that small family run business from the past and that makes us smile.

Our History

Ed Wolak began working in the Dunkin’ Donuts business in 1967, when there were less than 250 Dunkin’ Donuts restaurants in the entire country. He started out as a porter...
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