Caribou Coffee

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Caribou Coffee Company
Industry Restaurants
Retail Coffee and Tea
Retail Beverages
Founded 1992
Headquarters Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, U.S.
Key people
Mike Tattersfield, CEO
Revenue Increase $262 million USD (2009)[1]
Increase $5.14 million USD (2009)[1]
Number of employees
6,000+ employees.[1]
Parent Joh. A. Benckiser
Slogan "Life is short. Stay awake for it."

Caribou Coffee Company is a specialty coffee and espresso retailer, the second largest in the United States[2] after Starbucks. Caribou sells coffee, tea, and bakery goods in 415 company-owned coffeehouses in 40 states and the District of Columbia, as well as 126 franchise locations worldwide.[3]


The original location, "44th and France" or Store 101, is located in Edina, Minnesota.[4]

Caribou Coffee founder, John Puckett, was working as a management consultant for Boston-based firm Bain & Company, helping develop ideas and strategies for other companies, when he decided he wanted to become an entrepreneur. After a trip to Denali National Park in Alaska, he and his wife, Kim, decided to raise money and start a coffee company. His wife stayed with a job at General Motors while John moved to Minnesota to find the first site and put together financing.[5]

The initial concept for Caribou was a five-day-a-week schedule aimed at downtown office workers, mimicking what worked in Boston. Puckett signed a lease for the first location to be in the large Pillsbury Center office building. However, soon afterward the building's landlord decided not to sign the lease, because another of the building's retail tenants had exclusive rights to selling coffee in the building and had threatened to sue them. As a result, the financing for the store fell through because it was dependent on that specific site. Puckett opted to start looking for an available location in the suburbs, and the first Caribou Coffee shop was started in Edina, Minnesota, a suburb of Minneapolis, in December 1992.[5] Following several years of mixed performance, the Pucketts sold their controlling interest in the company in 1998 for $120 million to Atlanta-based Crescent Capital, which has since changed its name to Arcapita.

Since opening, the chain has expanded to 415 locations in 16 states and the District of Columbia,[6] making it the second-largest operator of non-franchised coffeehouses in the United States, after Starbucks Corporation. This includes 24 licensed locations in the U.S. and two overseas markets. Caribou maintains its headquarters and coffee-roasting facility in the Minneapolis metropolitan area.

Arcapita was Caribou Coffee's majority shareholder. In 2002, Yusuf al-Qaradawi's involvement[7] with the bank led to a protest of Caribou Coffee. That same year al-Qaradawi stepped down as chairman of the bank's Sharia board.[8] In 2005, Arcapita completed an IPO of Caribou. On September 28, 2005, Caribou Coffee became a publicly traded company. In 2011, Arcapita sold their shares of Caribou Coffee.

On February 28, 2010, Caribou announced a corporate-wide re-branding, and began using their new "coffee bean caribou" logo officially on March 1, 2010.[9]

In 2012, Caribou Coffee's announced its acquisition by the German company Joh. A. Benckiser for $340 million. Benckiser is a holding company which is a part holder of the consumer products company Reckitt Benckiser; it also purchased Peet's Coffee & Tea in 2012.

In May 2013, Caribou Coffee announced plans to close 80 stores in Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Washington D.C., Maryland, Virginia, Georgia, Illinois and Eastern Wisconsin, with 88 others in those locations to be converted to Peet's Coffee & Tea during 2013-2014. Caribou locations would remain open in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Western Wisconsin, Iowa, Kansas, North Carolina, Denver, and ten international markets.[10][11] The closing and conversion process had been underway for a while beforehand, however, with news of closings beginning at least a month earlier.[12] On September 29, 2014, Einstein Noah Restaurant Group Inc., operator of Einstein Bros. Bagels and other bagel restaurants, was bought by JAB Holdings, owner of Caribou and Peets. [13]

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