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…