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What has happened to Seattle’s Tully’s Coffee?

(Photo by Linda Thomas)

Tully’s Coffee was born amid the ’90s coffee boom, under the shadow of the Starbucks empire. It too continued to grow as its own unique brand of coffee shops, until earlier this year when it “temporarily” closed its stores.

RELATED: Howard Schultz steps down at Starbucks

The Puget Sound Business Journal reports that the closures aren’t as “temporary” as previously thought. It looks like Tully’s won’t be reopening, but exact details around why remain fuzzy.

The parent company, Global Baristas, stated that it was undergoing a rebranding while it closed Tully’s Coffee stores in March — about 15 locations in the Seattle area. The reason for the closure: It ran out of coffee. It could also be because Keurig, which owns the rights to the Tully’s name and products says that Global Baristas lapsed on a licensing agreement in December 2017, forfeiting the right to use the name. Keurig has an ongoing legal battle with the coffee company.

That’s just one of many issues Tully’s Coffee is juggling. The company has also been pelted with lawsuits. The Journal points out that the company faces around $7.4 million in back rent, bills, and unpaid taxes. Some of its stores have been evicted by landlords. Emails to Tully’s Coffee are being returned as undeliverable and its website is down. Tullys.com will send you to a Keurig website.

Even the Wikipedia page for Tully’s Coffee already refers to the company in the past tense: “Tully’s Coffee was a specialty coffee retailer and wholesaler based in Seattle.”

Side note: The company’s owner under Global Baristas, attorney and race car driver Michael Avenatti, says he is no longer the owner. He originally bought the company out of bankruptcy in 2013. He wouldn’t tell The Journal who the new owner is. He’s otherwise busy representing porn star Stormy Daniels in her lawsuit against President Trump.

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