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Dunkin Donuts building Modesto location
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MODESTO  (AP) — Dunkin’ Donuts is moving ahead on its plan to expand into California.

The East Coast doughnut and coffee chain said Tuesday that it has filed permits to open its first free-standing stores in the state. Construction is expected to begin later this month. The locations will be in Downey, Long Beach, Modesto, Santa Monica and Whittier.

The new locations are part of the company’s previously announced plans to expand into the state by 2015. Dunkin’ Donuts said it has already signed nearly 200 agreements to open stores in California. It expects to have more than 1,000 restaurants in the state in the future. The new locations will be operated by franchisees.

Dunkin’ Donuts, which is owned by Canton, Massachusetts-based Dunkin’ Brands Group Inc., has about 11,000 restaurants around the world. In the U.S., most of its stores are in the East Coast and Midwest. Dunkin’ Brands also owns the ice cream chain Baskin Robbins.

The company already has a small presence in California. It opened three small sites in the state, including one in a hotel, a military base and one at a travel rest stop.