Tim Hortons' much-ballyhooed plans to rapidly expand in Minnesota may have hit a significant road block.
The Canadian doughnut-and-coffee chain's Lake Street location closed Thursday with no warning. Potential customers were greeted with this sign on the door:
And apparently this is now the case for every Twin Cities Tim Hortons. The Pioneer Press called all metro locations and only got an answer in Eagan, where an employee was closing up shop for the final time. And the Forest Lake Times confirmed the closure of the Tim Hortons there, too – and that one opened just 13 months ago.
It's a bit of a surprising development.
When Tim Hortons announced its plans for the Twin Cities region in 2016, the group Restaurant Development Partners said it had development commitments for the next 14 years.
It started with a high-profile Mall of America opening in November of 2016, with more in the area quick to follow. Brooklyn Center, Brooklyn Park, Eagan, Forest Lake, Minneapolis, St. Paul and Savage all got Tim Hortons.
But there have been signs of trouble.
The Star Tribune in December of 2017 reported seven Tim Hortons locations in the Twin Cities were sued by their parent company for not paying franchise fee payments.
And in February this year Tim-Minn, the franchise group that operates some Minnesota Tim Hortons, sued Tim Hortons for price gouging, the Times Colonist reported.
The suit claims Tim Hortons made false and misleading statements, prompting Tim-Minn to invest millions of dollars in plans to open 280 restaurants in the state - which Tim-Minn can't afford to operate.
It's unclear right now if the handful of Tim Hortons in northern Minnesota will also be affected