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Tim Hortons plans restaurant in Key Center downtown The firm already is going into the HSBC Center

Tim Hortons is making it a double in downtown Buffalo.

The popular Canadian coffee and doughnut chain has confirmed plans to open a 2,000-square-foot restaurant in Key Center, in the 500-block of Main Street. The food company previously announced plans for a 700-square-foot outlet in the HSBC Center, at the foot of Main Street.

Tim Hortons spokeswoman Rachel Douglas said Tuesday the downtown office building setting is fresh turf for the company in the U.S.

"We had been doing some research and thinking about going into the downtown core for sometime to build on our strong presence in the Buffalo area. The opportunity for the two locations presented themselves at the same time and we grabbed them," Douglas said.

The Key Center eatery will feature a full breakfast and lunch menu and on-premises seating. The HSBC site will be positioned as a "take away"-style operation, serving a slate of coffees, baked goods and breakfast sandwiches.

Bob McDonnell, vice president of sales for Ciminelli Real Estate, the leasing agent for Key Center, said building owner Key Success, LLC, and Tim Hortons saw tremendous potential to serve the tenants of the office complex and the central business district.
"It seemed a natural addition to the existing retail components [at Key Center], including Vito's and Edritos. Key Center couldn't be happier to welcome Tim's," McDonnell said.

Both downtown locations are expected to debut before the end of the month.

Buffalo has always been a key market for Tim Hortons, serving as the jumping off point for its U.S. expansion. The chain, which carries the name of the late Buffalo Sabres defenseman and hockey Hall of Famer, opened its first U.S. restaurant on Niagara Falls Boulevard in the Town of Tonawanda in 1984.

The company will note a major milestone in Western New York on Thursday with the opening of its 3,000th restaurant on Abbott Road in Orchard Park.

"Buffalo is the model market for Tim Hortons in the United States," said Chris Laganos, senior vice president, U.S. operations. "We're excited to be opening our first two downtown Buffalo locations before the end of the year. And we continue to focus on our overall goal of 500 stores in the U.S. by the end of 2008."

The number of stand-alone Tim Hortons restaurants, and gas stations/convenience stores and kiosks offering the chain's products in the Buffalo area has swelled to 60, with plans to add several more locations over the next two years.

Laganos credited local franchisees and their staffs for continuing the chain's Buffalo area success. The company will donate the equivalent of the new restaurant's first day's sales to Hunter's Hope Foundation and the Tim Horton Children's Foundation.

e-mail: slinstedt@buffnews.com

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