Longmont coffee battle gears up for exclusivity deal
The owner of Cavegirl Coffeehouse LLC says the company should be the sole owner of items like organic coffee, gluten-free baked goods and paleo foods in the Prospect New Town neighborhood of Longmont and is suing the Prospect Community Association and a potential competitor in an effort to enforce an exclusivity agreement.
The company, along with owner Lori Abramson and affiliated entity Prospect Development Partners LLC, filed a lawsuit against Downtown Prospect Association Inc. (DPA), Whole Sol Longmont LLC and Tenacity 4970 Holdings LLC last week in court. of Boulder County District.
Prospect is a New Urbanist style community with unique architectural homes, commercial spaces and restaurants. The neighborhood is located west of Main Street and south of downtown Longmont, and was developed by Kiki Wallace, owner of farmland that eventually became Prospect; and urban planning firm Duany Plater-Zyberk & Co.
When Abramson bought property in the Prospect neighborhood in 2015 with the intention of opening a cafe, she “needed to make sure that no other competing food establishments selling similar products would be allowed to operate. in the community,” the lawsuit said.
So, according to the lawsuit, DPA’s board “decided to grant Cavegirl the exclusive right to sell organic coffee, gluten-free baked goods, and paleo food items as primary menu items in Downtown Prospect”.
Cavegirl’s owners then requested that the agreement be “slightly revised to provide” for an exclusive right to sell freshly squeezed fruit and vegetable drinks, organic teas, organic coffee, gluten-free baked goods and products, and paleo food products,” the complaint said.
Court records show Abramson was unable to confirm that association officials ever made these revisions to the exclusivity agreement. But assuming the revised deal was in place, the owners of Cavegirl invested around $3 million to build and open the cafe.
Fast forward to 2022 – the lawsuit alleges Abramson learned this year that Whole Sol, a local restaurant chain with locations in Denver, Boulder and Fort Collins that specializes in smoothies, bowls and juices, was planning to open a new store at 645 Tenacity Drive into Prospect.
Representatives for Whole Sol declined to comment, but the company’s website says the Prospect site is expected to open this fall.
The plaintiffs and their attorneys at Caplan & Earnest LLC did not respond to requests for comment.
“Whole Sol’s online menu confirms that organic coffee products and gluten-free baked goods and baked goods are an important part of its offering,” the lawsuit states. “Its menu has about a dozen different coffee products, including cold brews, lattes, espressos, drip coffee, and Americano.” The overlap between Whole Sol’s offerings and Cavegirl’s menu creates a breach of the latter’s exclusivity agreement with the neighborhood association, according to Abramson’s complaint.
After the potential conflict was brought to the association’s attention, the lawsuit claims that DPA’s community manager contacted the plaintiffs in May on behalf of the DPA board and “indicated that the board DPA’s board approved Whole Sol’s application because it determined that Whole Sol does not directly compete with Cavegirl, nor violate any of its proprietary categories.
The lawsuit asks the court to require Whole Sol “be prohibited from opening and operating a business in the community, or alternatively, be prohibited from operating a business in the community that contains any of the items contained in the ‘exclusivity agreement’, according to the complaint. “Plaintiffs are also entitled to damages associated with DPA’s breach of the exclusivity agreement and other promises made to plaintiffs, in addition to its violations of operating documents, including its statements, statutes and its rules and regulations.”
The case is Cavegirl Coffeehouse LLC, Prospect Development Partners LLC and Lori Abramson v Downtown Prospect Association Inc, Whole Sol Longmont LLC and Tenacity 4970 Holdings LLC. Case number 2022cv30486 filed in the Boulder County District Court.
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