The combined bids of Starbucks and the undisclosed bidder come to $10.6 million, above the $9.2 million Dempsey’s company is offering to pay through his company, which was formed in order to purchase Tully’s. The other investors in Global Baristas aren’t being disclosed.
Tully’s Coffee, which is known for serving Joe with a milder taste than Starbucks brand, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in October, citing lease obligations and underperforming stores. Tully’s wholesale business, which includes Tully’s Coffee in bags and single serve K-cup packs that are sold in supermarkets and other stores, is owned separately by Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Inc.
TC Global Inc., the parent company of Tully’s, said in a release Friday that it was “encouraged and excited” about Dempsey’s commitment to the chain.
Tully’s President and CEO Scott Pearson called the deal a “great match” and that the goal is to make sure creditors get paid and to keep as many people employed as possible.
Dempsey said he planned to be very involved in the running of the company, adding that the immediate challenges were to address bookkeeping issues, staff morale and sprucing up the coffee shops. Once the business is stabilized, Dempsey said the long-term goal would be to take the chain national.
“We can pull this off. We just have to take steps that are slow and smart,” he said.
“I’m going to get behind the counter. I’m going to serve coffee...I’m going to give the company a boost of energy.”
Although Dempsey lives in Los Angeles, he plans to spend more time in Seattle, the city where “Grey’s Anatomy” is set in. Dempsey said he believed there is room in the city for Tully’s and the much larger Starbucks; he noted there might be people who are rooting for the underdog.