A post on Esquire Magazine’s website stated “Stumptown Coffee Roasters has been sold to the highest bidder”.
I heard a rumor a few weeks ago that company founder Duane Sorenson wants to expand into the European market. If true, that is going to take some cash, and it makes sense that they would need to bring in an equity firm to make that happen. That does not mean the company has been sold.
Willamette Week did some serious digging, and came up with the following information:
Stumptown Coffee officials say the company remains under the control of founder Duane Sorenson, though a document filed with the state of Oregon shows that Alexander S. Panos, a managing partner of the New York private equity fund TSG Consumer Partners, is now the authorized representative for Stumptown.
“Duane has a friend who’s invested some money into Stumptown to help us grow—to open up a couple of cafes, maybe a market,” Lounsbury said. “But he’s still very much in charge of the company. This is a time when banks aren’t giving a lot of people money and we actually reached a point where the banks wouldn’t give Stumptown any more money,” Lounsbury said.
He refused to give the name of the friend, how much money he has invested, or what if any ownership he has received.
When asked who currently owns a majority share of Stumptown, Lounsbury said: “I can’t really answer that one way or another. I can just tell you Duane is very much in charge of Stumptown.”
Two interesting things in Stumptown’s response –
In typical corporate speak, they dance all around whether Duane is the majority owner.
Also of interest is the connection of TSG to Norway. There have been rumors for years that Duane would like to expand to that general part of the world (Amsterdam), so who knows – I’m just throwing things out and seeing what sticks. Anyway, that would take some serious cash. Time will tell, and I’m not sure why we care. As long as they keep making great coffee, I’ll be happy.
One more thing – Mr. Oregonian, it’s spelled “Esquire, not “Equire”
Ruth Brown says
It wasn’t included in the post, but I did ask Stumptown’s spokesman if they were expanding into Amsterdam, and he said no.
Food Dude says
ah.. well.. it was just a theory. I still wouldn’t be surprised. Thanks for letting me know.
Tim Roth says
I love how the food news media can be so similar to the shallow celebrity paparazzi sometimes. Not that we aren’t all interested in the future of our favorite purveyors of delicious food and drink, but it just seems like everyone should be less quick to assume the worst. In other words, have a little faith, y’all!
So lemme get this straight… You build up a great business, promote and execute fair trade practices, give your employees benefits AND make a quality product. THEN you take on an investor who can not only help you continue to prosper but expand these practices and ideals and still keep your own corporate culture and people say you’ve sold out.
Billy Wilson says
Bingo! nailed it with that comment. Who gives a rat’s ass if D brought on an investor. He’s been paying for all of his expansion out of his own pocket for 12 years. How many other coffee companies of Stumptown’s size can say that?
i love it when portland gets any sort of play in the national media…i actually thought todd’s article was funny – it’s like…um…ok todd – thanks for stepping up and speaking out for the ‘hipster coffee culture’ you’ve been so critical of in the past…and really – thank god we have you to watch out for our interests as you decry the impacts of corporatization on our coffee culture…and only like, oh – i don’t know.. 10 years late!.. seriously…this feels so 1998.. ;)
It makes me sick that people don’t fact check or post untruthful information on the internet. It happens all too often whether personal or professiona – intentionally or unintentionally.
It definitely sent the cyber-world into a frenzy based on untruthful information. I would think a writer for a well-known publication wouldn’t stoop to that douche-level. I hope for his sake he just got it “wrong” although there is no excuse for that in journalism.
It’s like the business of sports rumors…journalists live off that stuff. Very similar to the celebrity paparazzi.
anonymous portland says
This document lits a clear company change and an addition to the new president Alexander with Duane as CEO http://www.portlandonline.com/oni/index.cfm?c=48007&a=348742
Thanks Food Dude. I needed all of that.
The price of ‘fame’. Sour grapes anyone? Bingo said it straight. We all work it one way or another. What’s wrong with making a legitimate successful business? Next…………