Cops and doughnuts

…Country Style's reorganization was marked by anger and bitterness by franchisees who lost their investments after the company shut down their shops. However, its actions were legal and approved by the court that oversaw the bankruptcy protection, says Gibbons. Those franchisees will have to wait and see if the OPP agrees.

Canadian Business magazine
April 12, 2004

Cops and doughnuts
Bad blood brewing between Country Style and some of its former franchisees
John Gray

The bad blood brewing between the Country Style doughnut chain and some of its former franchisees is bubbling over—now the Ontario Provincial Police are involved. Members of the anti-rackets section are "looking into" allegations made by at least one former store owner left out in the cold after the company emerged from bankruptcy-court protection two years ago. "We have received a complaint, and we are looking into it," says Det. Sgt. Paul Beesley. "Beyond that, I can't say much more."

Country Style Food Services CEO Patrick Gibbons says any allegations of company wrongdoing are not supported by the facts. Gibbons contacted police after learning about the supposed "investigation" from an e-mail distributed by Ontario franchisee advocate Les Stewart. "Any member of the public can make a complaint, and the police are obligated to look at it," says Gibbons. "That doesn't mean we are being investigated."

As Canadian Business reported in April 2002, Country Style's reorganization was marked by anger and bitterness by franchisees who lost their investments after the company shut down their shops. However, its actions were legal and approved by the court that oversaw the bankruptcy protection, says Gibbons. Those franchisees will have to wait and see if the OPP agrees.


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