"We had actually been left with no other option but to organize a black ops operation"
When a game of basketball isn’t going your way, the classic childhood move is to take your ball and go home. An Australian coffee shop franchisee recently decided to try that maneuver with her entire store. Looking to end a dispute with the Muzz Buzz coffee chain, shop owner Kimedlia Cole literally lifted the building off the ground and moved it to a new location.
Apparently, a loophole in Cole’s contract made moving the store seem like a sensible decision. According to Munchies, Muzz Buzz, which is a Perth-based chain with over 50 locations throughout the country, leases land to its franchisees. But the franchisees technically own the building. Since Muzz Buzz locations are small drive-thru coffee stands, Cole was able to pry her shop from the ground in the middle of the night and move it elsewhere.
Needless to say, Cole blames Muzz Buzz for leaving her with no choice but to take such a drastic measure. “Within the first four weeks [as a franchisee] we had alarm bells and issues arising,” she said, according to Australia's ABC News. “We were left to our own devices, so the supposed support and whatnot that you pay for in your franchising fees, we were not receiving. We had no sublease. All of these things came up in the first few weeks and were never rectified.”
“We had actually been left with no other option but to organize a black ops operation,” she later added. “Here we are just average joes, not trying to make millions but just trying to get on with life and have a good business. We pretty much got left with no other choice, we had to do what we had to do.”
For its part, Muzz Buzz disputes Cole’s claims. “Do you think her bank would have given her the funding to undertake this venture without having a sublease?” Warren Reynolds, Muzz Buzz chairman, was quoted as saying.
Even then, the company also points out that just because she owns the building doesn’t mean it’s worth much in its current state. “It's her building, but we have the trademark rights over the building and it can't be used for anything but a Muzz Buzz and she was well aware of that,” Reynolds added. “In the disclosure document it states that … she signed off on reading the disclosure document.” ABC News reports that the whole dispute is destined to end up in court.