Why did their doughnut dream crumble?

That first year was also the beginning of the end of the once tight-knit Zaborniak family.

Winnipeg Free Press
February 15, 2008

Why did their doughnut dream crumble?
Bruce Owen

Was he working for coffee king Tim Hortons or was he working for his family?

That's just one question a Court of Queen's Bench judge has to wrestle with in a case that's pitted Tim Hortons against a Winnipeg family, who bought into doughnut dream more than a decade ago only to see it crumble like a week-old Crueller.

Mr. Justice Glenn Joyal heard yesterday from the oldest sibling of the family Kevin Zaborniak. He testified he got into the doughnut franchise along with his sister and brother 10 years ago thinking they'd gross $700,000 a year from running a store on Henderson Highway.

It didn't happen. In the first year, the business lost almost $73,000.

Zaborniak said one reason it did as poorly as it did is that when the family went into business with Tim's there was no paved parking lot at the store, only a gravel one.

It was a negative experience for our customers, he said.

That first year was also the beginning of the end of the once tight-knit Zaborniak family.

They claim Tim Hortons officials convinced them to open a second store on Regent Avenue, the idea that by pooling the resources of both stores they'd come out ahead.

That didn't happen either. Instead, Zaborniak testified he was hired by Tim's to run a third store in a Revy outlet.

The family claims by him doing that the profitability of the other two stores faltered and failed.

Tim Hortons claims otherwise. Lawyers for the Toronto-based company say a deal is a deal, and they sued the Zaborniaks for about $105,000 for non-payment of Tim Hortons products, service fees and advertising costs.

The family counter-sued, claiming Tim Hortons is entitled to nothing as they were misled in how profitable the doughnut chain was as it competed against rival Robin's. They're suing for unspecified damages.

The case has now dragged through the courts for a decade with neither side budging a inch. The trial is expected to last another week. Joyal is expected to reserve his decision.

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Copyright F.P. Canadian Newspapers Limited Partnership Feb 15, 2008
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