Shawn Pattison Replaces Mark West as President of Blenz Coffee

Mark West’s sidekick Shawn Pattison has reportedly replaced him as president of the Canadian coffee franchise in a very silent changing of the guard.

Shawn has a background of heavy involvement with Rasoee – an Indian fast food franchise that ended up suddenly disappearing and leaving its franchisees holding the bag.  Their are five known lawsuits filed against the corporation.

Mark West is known to have been involved with Quiznos before he started his own coffee franchise called My Cup Coffee and Tea before most of those locations closed down.

It will be interesting to guess which franchise Mr. West will appear in next, and how Blenz will perform with Mr. Pattison as its new leader, especially with the heavy list of lawsuits filed in the courts.

As usual, we’ll keep you posted on the Vancouver Coffee Franchise world.

Blenz Coffee: 2016 Litigation List

Blenz Coffee: 2016 Litigation List

Ever wondered who is suing who in the coffee franchise industry in Vancouver, BC, Canada?

For your convenience, we’ve put it all together for you into one convenient PDF file.

CLICK HERE TO OPEN THE 2016 BLENZ COFFEE LITIGATION LIST

As of December, 2016, just click this link for a complete download of all the lawsuits filed in BC related to BLENZ THE CANADIAN COFFEE COMPANY LTD, BLENZ COFFEE LTD, BLENZ COFFEE,

As of December, 2016, there are 49 lawsuits filed.

 

Mark West’s Last My Cup Coffee and Tea Location Shutters Door

Mark West’s Last My Cup Coffee and Tea Location Shutters Door

For serveral years the VCSFA has been covering Mark West’s interesting involvement in My Cup Coffee and Tea and Blenz Coffee.  For anyone considering buying a Blenz Coffee franchise, this is crucial background information.

In this previous article we discussed how neither Mark West, nor Blenz Coffee thought there were any problems or conflict with Mr. West running his own competing coffee franchise while in a position of General Manager of Blenz Coffee.  Surely if they did see any ethical issue they would have fixed the problem.  Although at least one concerned franchisee brought the issue to leadership at the announcement of Mark West’s arrival to Blenz, the issue was promptly brushed off and subdued by the beats of an expensive African drum group at their annual conference.

In the same article, it describes how he is also the contact person for anyone interested in opening a new Look Organic Tea, which also competes directly with a Blenz franchised location, literally right next door at Library Square.

Although the direct competition between West’s My Cup and Look Tea stores and the Blenz stores he claims to be helping may be of concern to current or prospective Blenz buyers, of greater concern should be the fact that none of these My Cup locations have survived the test of time.

Perhaps multi-coloured paper feet glued to the street and fuzzy dice are no longer enough to win the dollars of the increasingly sophisticated Vancouver coffee drinker?

You be the judge.

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Bailiff Spotted at Blenz-Owned Steamrollers on Broadway Street Vancouver

A Bailiff was reportedly seen ‘dealing with’ the Steamrollers franchised location at 693 West Broadway street at Heather.  Steamrollers is also reportedly owned by Blenz the Canadian Coffee Company.

Earlier this week, further reports claimed that the entire staff had suddenly disappeared overnight and been replaced by new staff.

The previous owners were no where to be seen.

Blenz the Canadian Coffee Company has been facing notable challenges, specifically over the last 24 months including multiple lawsuit filings involving previous Franchisees as well as ex head office employees, not to mention multiple closures of prominent locations.

Blenz Coffee Franchise Poster Child Example of Need for BC Franchise Legislation

BIV_BLENZ

In this most recent Business in Vancouver article on the topic of the need for franchise legislation in BC, Wayne Taylor briefly describes his personal experience dealing with Blenz Coffee (Blenz the Canadian Coffee Company Ltd) and just some of the claims he and two other former Franchisees have against the Vancouver franchise and its directors Sarah Kate Moen, Geoffrey Hair and Brian Noble.

Blenz Coffee and many other local Franchisors have essentially been able to do whatever they like while they hide behind their weighty franchise agreements and the shield of their pricey lawyers.

Until now.

Franchisees around BC have had enough and have figured out that the scales have not only been unbalanced but completely lop-sided in their Franchisor’s favour.

Typically what will occur is the Franchisee will enter into a binding legal agreement with the Franchisor and by the time he or she figures out that their investment is built on sand (or worse) they have no money left to fight the imbalance in court because government has been conveniently avoiding getting involved.

The result? Ruined marriages, unnecessary bankruptcies, lost homes, and serious cases of depression around our beautiful cities.

For some Franchisees there may be time to recover their financial house before retirement but for many others the clock has run out by the time the battle begins.

The government of BC needs to at least make a way for the small guy to have a fighting chance against companies that display sociopath and bully-like, in the same way that they have in other provinces.

It’s time to level the playing field.

 

What Will Replace Blenz Coffee at Pacific Centre?

On May 24, 2014 the VCSFA published an article called ‘Yet Another Prestigious Blenz Closes: Pacific Centre on Granville’  about the sudden disappearance of the landmark Blenz Coffee at Pacific Centre at 609 Granville Street. At that point it was rumoured that another clothing retailer had won the prized retail location ousting Blenz in a similar leasing situation as what occurred at Robson and Burrard. Both of these locations were high volume, and high visibility locations for the Vancouver brand.

For the owners (Franchisees) of these locations, they witnessed the entire value of whatever amount of goodwill they paid for their respective locations, evaporate before their eyes, leaving them with nothing more than whatever street value their aged and depreciated equipment was worth at the moment of loss – Not a pretty picture for their ‘franchise partners’ as Blenz likes to call them.
Some assumed that the loss of these prime locations and subsequent appearance of a new retailer was a deal agreed upon between Blenz corporate, the Blenz Franchisee, and the new retailer. The assumption, namely because there weren’t any indications otherwise, was that perhaps all stakeholders in the deal agreed that these locations were not well suited for coffee. Our new reports reveal that they may have assumed incorrectly and the now-stranded Franchisees may not have been involved in the lease negotiations at all.  Now wouldn’t that be a tad unfair to their ‘partner’?

Blenz Coffee, as do other Vancouver franchises, sets itself up as direct tenant in their commercial leases.  In this common franchise-model arrangement, the Franchisee is then responsible, by means of a sub-lease agreement, for cutting rent cheques directly to the landlord.  The Franchisee assumes this agreement is in place so that the Franchisor (in this case Blenz) can wield their powerful branded sword forcing the landlord into obedient submission resulting in the acquisition of prime retail locations (in this case Robson/Burrard and Pacific Centre) at rates that allow for a profitable business.  A green Franchisee typically does not understand these complex commercial arrangements and therefore trusts their Franchisor to be looking out for their mutual best interest.  In law this is called ‘to act in good faith‘ or ‘responsibility of good faith’.  In the case of Blenz, failing to renew a lease, or failing to secure a lease rate that is competitive and/or reasonable in the marketplace would equate to the fast destruction of the investment.

All eyes are now on Pacific Centre. Will it become another Lulu Lemon situation like at Burrard and Robson where a retailer from a totally separate industry takes over?

If it becomes a clothing retailer, or something completely removed from the food and beverage sector, then Blenz Coffee might be able to explain to this former (and probably rather upset) Franchisee that this location is not well suited for a retail coffee business, or their coffee brand or that the person who won the space had higher profit margins than them and are therefore able to justify doing business in Pacific Centre. It would be difficult for the former franchisee to have enough know-how to fight that battle.

If something like a Tim Horton’s were to open at 609 Granville, the Franchisee would then be able to present a good argument that Blenz Coffee just ‘let’ another similar business come in and ‘take’ their space, leaving them with nothing. However, Blenz might then be able to say something like ‘Well, Tim Horton’s is different. It’s more of a food-based model with cheaper price points – much different from the ideal Blenz customer.’

But if something were to open in the same space like a Waves Coffee, Starbucks, Take Five, Caffe Artigiano, or any other similarly-branded Italian-style coffee shop (especially those our Francouver list) with the standard espresso-based offerings and a few pastries spattered on the side, then the question will quickly become: How hard did Blenz the Canadian Coffee Company negotiate with the Pacific Centre landlord to maintain their prized location and assure the longevity of the Franchisee’s investment?

How hard did Blenz the Canadian Coffee Company negotiate with the Pacific Centre landlord to maintain their prized location and assure the longevity of the Franchisees investment?

If the answer turns out to be ‘not very hard’, then the next logical question would be “why not?”.

But only time will tell as the lease-hold improvements take place behind the boarded up windows at 609 Granville Street.

Another Blenz Bites the Dust: Prestigious Landmark Robson at Burrard Location Gone Forever

Another Blenz Bites the Dust: Prestigious Landmark Robson at Burrard Location Gone Forever

2013 was clearly a tough year for Blenz the Canadian Coffee Company LTD completely losing the prestigious Cambie & 17th and Howe & Hastings locations from its previously expanding chain while experiencing temporary yet unusual and unexplained shutdowns at the Robson & Bute location as well as the Main Street location, not to mention the extremely high number of Blenz current sitting for sale on the world wide webs.  It is also the year that started just months after Blenz made the corporate decision to re-instate previous leader Mark West to steer the Blenz ship – while he remains owner of My Cup Coffee and Tea (currently their website is shown as ‘suspended’ but here is a PDF of the page that was visible until recently: www_mycupcoffeeandtea_com_Franchising_html ) which still competes directly with existing Blenz locations, one location at Georgia and Seymour which chips away at the sales of three different Blenz locations that are steps away.

blenz_closed_01

As if that battle story were not bloody enough for the Vancouver chain, Blenz finished off their year with the colossal and damaging blow of losing their most prized location: Robson & Burrard – One of – if not the – most highly visible and high foot traffic locations in the city.  Although not yet confirmed, it is rumoured that Lulu Lemon will be taking over the location.  The previous franchisee has not been availble for comments yet.  Apparently transparent stretchy pants and yoga gear are well liked by commercial landlords.

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Although the economy and ‘coffee saturation’ has been blamed by some for the challenges that franchise model brands like Blenz are facing, it has not seemed to stop corporate chains like JJ Bean and Cafe Artigiano from encroaching on their native territory.

2014 is upon us and it will be most interesting to observe how large number franchise chains like Blenz and Waves play their game.  If 2013 was any indication of the future…

 

Prestigious Blenz Gone

Prestigious Blenz Gone