Another Blenz location has closed – this time at Broadway and Bayswater (2953 W Broadway). This adds to the following list of recent closures for the native Vancouver brand: Cambie @ 17th, Hastings, Burrard @ Robson, and possibly 4198 Main Street as the location has been removed from the Blenz list of locations.
Blenz the Canadian Coffee Company LTD has sold their corporate training centre at Library Square to a new franchisee. A sign reading “This location has new owners! We look forward to serving you!” was posted on the window.
This location was a very useful component to the Blenz brand and had been the location used not only for giving new franchisees (owners) a chance to train with the public before running their own stores, but also for hosting events such as ‘That Barista Thing’. They also used the location to do dry runs on new products and get feedback from customers.
This location has a challenging history as it was reportedly owned by a franchisee before Blenz took over the location from the upset owner.
Adding to the story of the sudden recent change of hands of this prestigious location is the simultaneous erection of a dividing wall between what was the ‘training side’ (left) and the ‘customer side’ (right) as shown in the this photo:
This most serious corporate decision begs the following questions:
- Where will new franchisees in the Blenz chain get trained moving forward and how will this affect the quality of the training?
- Has Blenz protected the current owner of this Library Square location from a potentially competing business opening right next store? There is not hint of what kind of business will be moving in to the former training space. What if it turned out to be another coffee shop or tea shop?
- Why did Blenz sell this location? Did the city of Vancouver charge too much rent? Our reports show that lease rates in Library Square are some of the most manageable in the city. There are fewer locations with such a captive audience as library square.
This seemingly silent transaction should prompt franchisees and all stakeholders involved with Blenz the Canadian Coffee Company LTD to be on high alert if this decision was indeed not explained in advance.
As always, send us your industry information and we will be pleased to do a follow up report. We are here to help.
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.
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.
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…
Yet another sudden closure without notice has occurred at Blenz Coffee, this time on Main Street in Vancouver. Customers in the area reported to us that they were attempting to patronize the location but found the store closed with brown paper on the wall (see photo).
So far we are unable to get details on what is taking place at this location.