Realizing the American Dream

Silly immigrant. She thought the American Dream was realized through starting a business and working hard. Little did she know that it actually involves locking out competition through leases:

Coffee brouhaha leaves owner miffed: “Azeze said she has been told that her lease will not be extended and that her shop has to close by the end of the month. Caribou Coffee, which opened a new outlet in May in the nearby Silver Lake Village Shopping Center, negotiated a lease that prohibits other coffee shops at the development, according to the shopping center’s attorney.”

Thanks for leasing from us for the last few years. Now leave.

“If America is based on free enterprise, why can’t we have two coffee shops?” asked Robert Schwalm, a retired teacher from New Brighton who enjoys the seasonal Ethiopian coffee-roasting ceremonies Azeze conducts at Limu.

What American are you living in, Mr. Schwalm? A free enterprise America where the businesses with the best products and services at a fair price win, or one where competition is handled due to things outside quality of service, products, or pricing? Keep in mind that you live in an America where George W. Bush went to Yale and Harvard over much more qualified students. Free enterprise, free schmentrafise, Mr. Schwalm.

“It’s very disappointing,” she said. “I never thought this kind of thing would happen in America.”

I don’t think she’ll be down for long. It’s a hard lesson, but she’ll bounce back from it.

6 thoughts on “Realizing the American Dream”

  1. The lease provision negotiated between Caribou and the strip mall owners has to be declared invalid. Limu Coffee was there for 5 years prior to Caribou’s arrival.

    Azeze needs but can’t afford a lawyer. Who will step up and take her case?

  2. I don’t think Azeze has a legal chance at this point. Caribou can legally do what they did.

    Her best bet is the press embarassing Caribou and the landlord into competing based on service rather than lease negotiations.

  3. You are probably right about the legal chance. Caribou’s CEO has said the strip mall didn’t have to give them the exclusive, they would have come anyway. So why doesn’t Caribou voluntarily give up the exclusivity clause? If they’re afraid of Starbucks, they could even rewrite it to permit only coffee houses that were already there to remain.

  4. Looks like bad press for Caribou and the shopping center management company is causing some minor moves on their positions.

    The management company gave her an option to stay as long as she agreed to pay double her current lease rate. Some deal!!! Her cost for store space would still be much greated than that for the shops in the brand new buildings.

    But – shame and bad press have moved the management company to revise their offer. Still comes from a Scrooge kicking a shop keeper out at Christmas time. Instead of the 100% increase in cost – now he’s only looking for 75%. Gee, how kind of him. Hey Caribou – show you’re really not afraid of a local small coffee shop and agree to pick up the difference!!!

    As seen elsewhere, any brew but Caribou.

  5. Looks like bad press for Caribou and the shopping center management company is causing some minor moves on their positions.

    The management company gave her an option to stay as long as she agreed to pay double her current lease rate. Some deal!!! Her cost for store space would still be much greated than that for the shops in the brand new buildings.

    But – shame and bad press have moved the management company to revise their offer. Still comes from a Scrooge kicking a shop keeper out at Christmas time. Instead of the 100% increase in cost – now he’s only looking for 75%. Gee, how kind of him. Hey Caribou – show you’re really not afraid of a local small coffee shop and agree to pick up the difference!!!

    As seen elsewhere, any brew but Caribou.

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