Tories should help doughnut franchise owners: Martel

She warns there could be confrontations if police go into restaurants where franchise owners have refused to shut down. “No one wants to see that,” Martel says. “Likewise, you surely don’t want to see small business owners lose their shirts because they have closed their stores….

Northern Life
December 26, 2001

Tories should help doughnut franchise owners: Martel
Walter Franczyk

Nickel Belt MPP Shelley Martel is urging Minister of Consumer and Business Services, Norm Sterling, to help settle a dispute between Country Style Donuts and some of its franchise owners.

In a letter to minister Norm Sterling, Martel says Country Style is seeking court direction to send police in to forcibly close some stores and lock out franchisees.

She warns there could be confrontations if police go into restaurants where franchise owners have refused to shut down.

“No one wants to see that,” Martel says.

“Likewise, you surely don’t want to see small business owners lose their shirts because they have closed their stores, as instructed by the corporation, and now have no leverage to force the corporation to negotiate a fair settlement,” the MPP says in her letter.

Martel says too many franchisees have been left twisting in the wind because Country Style is refusing to fairly compensate them for the money they originally invested in their stores.

Country Style president Pat Gibbon could not be reached for comment.

The company announced earlier this month it would shut many of its “under-performing” restaurants in an effort to stave off bankruptcy.

Franchise owners, who invested an average of $150,000 to $200,000, stand to lose a lot of money.

In Sudbury, the closures have left only two of six Country Style shops operating.

The store on LaSalle Boulevard is open as an independent restaurant while The Kingsway shop has a sign saying closed for renovations.

Martel is urging the provincial government to adopt a four-point “peace plan” to resolve what she describes as an ugly dispute.

1. The plan would have Country Style follow the law and act in accordance with reasonable business standards and live up to its duty of fair dealing.

2. It would see Country Style withdraw its court application to have police lock out franchise owners.

3. The Ontario government would commission a forensic audit to assess the validity of the financial information being used to justify the franchise closures.

4. A third party would be recruited to mediate the dispute between the corporate headquarters and more than 40 Country Style franchisees.


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Risks: Ministry of Consumer and Commerical Services, Ministry of Consumer and Business Services, Ministry of Government and Consumer Services, Ministry of Government Services, Ontario, Termination of franchisee, mass, Police intervention, Canada, 20011226 Tories should

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