It's been a warm welcome to Altona for Rupesh Patel and his team at the new Tim Hortons location on Centre Ave. 

The highly anticipated donut and coffee shop opened its doors earlier this month, but an official grand opening and ribbon cutting was held Monday morning. 

"Me and my entire team, the whole family, (are) very excited," said the franchise owner. "(It's) a very nice community. Great to be here."

Patel added, the response to the new location has been better than what he expected. 

"It's a feeling you cannot describe," he said when asked how it feels to see people coming through the doors and filling the tables. "That's what we've been waiting for the last year and a half."

Patel owns three other rural Tim Hortons locations, one in each Swan River, Thompson and Morris. He feels his experience with rural communities will set the Altona location up for success.

"(It's) similar demographics so we know how to run the show in smaller communities. It has its own advantages and some challenges."

As part of the grand open celebration the last few weeks, customers had the chance to win Tim Hortons coffee for a year, and the luck name picked at the ribbon cutting was Hope Dueck.

Meantime, Tim Hortons' annual Smile Cookie Week got underway on Monday as well. 100% of proceeds from every Smile Cookie purchased support charities and community groups across Canada. In Altona, proceeds will benefit the Altona and Area Family Resource Centre. 

"Nina and her team at the Altona and Area Family Resource Centre, they are great. They have really great volunteers (and) they have collected a whole bunch of pre-orders," said Patel. 

Currently, total funds raised sits around  $8,000 and Patel's goal is to hit $20,000. 

"It's a great cause and I would like everybody to come out and purchase some Smile Cookies," said Patel. 

With files from Chris Sumner