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Business Wed Oct 17 2007
Franchised coffee shops don't seem to be doing to well in Chicago, with the Coffee Beanery on Damen breaking ties and becoming the independent Bucktown Beanery and now the apparent closure of Saxbys Coffee. The Saxbys Coffee on the corner of Jefferson and Lake was seized by the Cook County Sheriff's Department recently and the location, as well as the local Saxbys Training Facility, is no longer listed on the Philadelphia based companies website. A Plano store is open and operating, but a second location in Chicago was to open on North Clark but never came to fruition. From what little information I was able to gather, the owners or manager of the Lake Street store may have had issues in regards to paying employees — as in not paying them. Saxbys has been billed as an alternative to the corporate giant Starbucks — a location of which is coincidentally across the street.
UPDATE 7/26/09: John Larson, former owner of Saxbys Coffee, contacted us and offered the following letter of explanation regarding this case:
I am John Larson, Founder of Saxbys Coffee. Many posts have appeared after this article was written and I wanted to take this opportunity, given to me by the Editor of Gapers Block, to set the record straight.
I started Saxbys Coffee in Windsor, Colorado in January 2004. The concept was simple; a coffee shop which would eventually rival Starbucks Coffee. At the time there were no other coffee shops which were expanding aggressively and as a result Starbucks began raising prices on their products often and offered less service (they actually stopped stirring the drinks). Saxbys Coffee was designed to give superior customer service at a price which was lower than Starbucks. I used my over $400,000 of my own money to grow this company (which I would never get back).
In order to challenge Starbucks we would have to franchise the business and grow through Area Developers (mini-franchisors of Saxbys Coffee). This was not in any way a get rich quick scheme as one post states on this page and was a legitimate business set up to catch up to Starbucks in half the time it took Starbucks. For the most part the first two and a half years were successful for everyone.
Due to personal family issues I stepped down as an Officer and Director of Saxbys Coffee in September 2006 and Nick Bayer was voted in as Sole Director and Sole Officer which effectively gave Nick Bayer total control over Saxbys Coffee. Nick Bayer went on a rampage and set out to cancel many Area Developer contracts and close down many franchises that Nick Bayer felt remained loyal to me.
Nick Bayer then, as Sole Director and Sole Officer of Saxbys Coffee, fraudulently sold all the assets of Saxbys Coffee (which totaled over $6,000,000) for a mere $5,000 down and $300,000 to be paid in three years to Saxbys Coffee Worldwide LLC which is a corporation formed by Joe Grasso just days before the fraudulent sale. Joe Grasso "rewarded" Nick for his part in this "sweet deal" by giving Nick a job as President of the "new" Saxbys Coffee along with bonuses and jobs for Nick Bayer's father, mother and best friends. They were all given back pay as an added incentive.
One of the first actions the new Saxbys Coffee did was to stop paying rents and employees at all Chicago locations in an apparent effort to embarrass me (I lived in Chicago and the new Saxbys Coffee was in Philadelphia). As a result all the landlords evicted Saxbys Coffee in the Chicago locations.
Nick then continued his "witch-hunt" for all the other Area Developers and franchisees he wanted closed and Nick succeeded in ruining many lives through financial devastation (including mine).
Please take the time to read everything that happened with Saxbys Coffee and you will find that everything "bad" happened AFTER I stepped down in September 2006. Also please take note that I have filed two lawsuits against Nick Bayer, Joe Grasso, and Saxbys Coffee Worldwide, LLC for the fraudulent sale. One case is in the Chicago Circuit Court in Illinois (filed in July 2007) and the other is in Philadelphia and was filed this year. I will provide court case numbers and witnesses to anyone who asks.
This ordeal has financially devastated me, my family, my friends, and several hard working and honest Area Developers and franchisees that put their trust in Saxbys Coffee. Stepping down and giving Nick Bayer control was my mistake and one which I will regret for the rest of my life.
The court cases will go on (justice is slow) but we (the shareholders of Saxbys Coffee, Inc.) will be victorious. As a side note, ne of the reasons the court in Chicago is taking so long is because Nick Bayer, Joe Grasso, and Saxbys Coffee Worldwide, LLC, refuse to pay their attorneys. As a result the attorneys fire Nick Bayer, Joe Grasso, and Saxbys Coffee Worldwide, LLC. As their clients and the judicial system allows several months for new lawyers to be acquired and get caught up to speed o the case. This has happened on three occasions already.
People like Nick Bayer and Joe Grasso should be sitting in jail with the other fraudulent executives who cheat honest people.
I am including my email address and cell phone number for anyone who wants or needs additional information. I am doing this because I have nothing to hide, I am not afraid of any slander lawsuits as I only tell the truth, and I have documents to back up everything I say. My cell number is 312-515-9272 and my email address is johnlarson[at]jetgroup7[dot]com. Feel free to contact me regarding anything in this case.
To the bloggers who post things when they don't know the facts, I have one simple question. Why don't you use your real first and last name when you recklessly slander someone with no regard for the tole it takes on their life? You don't because you're afraid of a slander lawsuit because what you say is not the truth. My hope is that the readers of this article take that into consideration when reading the mean spirited posts following this article.
UPDATE 2: Comments have been closed.