For Roasters & Retailers

Tully’s Coffee faces another eviction suit after being forced from four locations

Another landlord has sued to evict Tully’s Coffee, adding to a steady drip of suits that already caused the 25-year-old chain to close four locations since mid-November.

Last week the company that owns Tully’s, Global Baristas, was sued to force it out of its Union Station location after allegedly failing to pay rent and late fees totalling just $6,737.

That followed a quartet of eviction notices at cafes in Seattle and Bellevue. The latest spurred the closure of its Eastgate location following a Dec. 12 judgment for $18,728 in overdue rent. Before that, the company closed three Seattle locations due to eviction: 19th Avenue East on Capitol Hill, 2003 Western Ave. near Pike Place Market, and the Exchange Building in the central business district.

A fifth location, at Two Union Square downtown, closed permanently in November as a building renovation began.

The eviction cases — along with a raft of taxes owed, most recently a Nov. 17 tax warrant for $50,000 from the state Department of Labor and Industries — seem to signal financial problems at the perennially struggling company.

But in a late November e-mail responding to the earlier eviction cases, a Tully’s spokesperson wrote, “Every store closure and decision to terminate various leases has been a purposeful decision by the company. Any suggestion otherwise is ridiculous.”

The spokesperson and company CEO Michael Avenatti did not respond Tuesday to questions about the latest suit.

After the five recent closures, and last summer’s split with Boeing, where Tully’s once ran a dozen coffee shops, the Tully’s Coffee website now shows 20 locations from Bothell to Gig Harbor.

By Rami Grunbaum

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