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New Bradenton Domino’s being designed as ‘pizza theater’

At 909 First St. E., the former site of a convenience store, franchisee Erin Mullins and operating partner Keith Smith will open a Domino’s pizza location.
At 909 First St. E., the former site of a convenience store, franchisee Erin Mullins and operating partner Keith Smith will open a Domino’s pizza location. jodea@bradenton.com

Domino’s is opening two new locations in Manatee County, one just east of downtown Bradenton and another in Lakewood Ranch.

Before franchisee Erin Mullins and operating partner Keith Smith decided to open a Domino’s, the 2,400-square-foot building at 909 First St. E. sat vacant for years after the Fast Trac Food Mart convenience store closed. Construction crews have started renovations on the building and Smith said they plan to open the location by April 15.

Mullins and Smith, who bought their first Domino’s in Bradenton in 2009, own six other locations in Manatee County, including one in Holmes Beach and one in Parrish. Another new Domino’s is planned for 14640 State Road 70 in Lakewood Ranch, according to dominosmanatee.com.

The Bradenton location will be designed as a “pizza theater,” Smith said, with an open kitchen where customers can watch food preparation. There will be room for about 30 people to sit and dine. The goal is to make the First Street Domino’s the nicest location in Bradenton and on the west coast of Florida.

We wanted to put that kind of effort into that kind of store in Bradenton. We have stores in other areas but Bradenton is where we started and we’re taking on our best effort there.

Keith Smith, operating partner, Manatee County Domino’s

The new Domino’s is in the Central Community Redevelopment Agency, one of three CRAs located within the city of Bradenton. CRAs were created by Florida Statute 163 “to provide municipal governments with the tools to overcome blight and catalyze redevelopment,” according to the Central CRA website. The Central CRA was created in 2000 and sunsets in 2030.

Redevelopment along the bustling U.S. Highway 41 corridor spurred Mullins and Smith to look at the First Street East property.

“We saw that Russ Tilton had built two stores next to us (Tropical Smoothie Cafe and another vacant space suitable for restaurant) and Wawa had opened up,” Smith said. “We saw that corridor was being improved and good-looking retail properties being put in and we thought we’d be a great centerpiece for that.”

Central CRA manager Jesus Niño said residents in the area are excited to see Domino’s coming in.

“By Domino’s redeveloping the site and improving a deteriorating structure, it really helps the aesthetics of the district and the corridor, which helps attract other businesses and developments,” Niño said in an email. “Domino’s financed the project on their own and required no subsidies from the CCRA, which is great since it shows businesses are interested in moving into the area, especially First Avenue with its high traffic counts.”

The location will employ 40 or more people, Smith said.

Domino’s started in 1960 and now has more than 13,000 locations, according to the Domino’s website.

Those interested in applying at either of the new Domino’s locations can find out more at dominosmanatee.com.

Janelle O’Dea: 941-745-7095, @jayohday

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