Another Coffee, Cafe and Bakery Chain Files Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

Passion-based businesses often lead to minibooms, where a city has several similar businesses that support each other. However, this is less likely when it comes to passion-based businesses, as they cannibalize each other and fail to attract customers. This is similar to the self-serve-frozen-yogurt boom, where one or two frozen yogurt shops thrived in a market but once more opened, everyone struggled and few survived.

The coffee business has been a challenge, with many regional beer brands and breweries going out of business due to debt they took on during the COVID pandemic. The end of that period coincided with a change in drinking habits that made beer less trendy, and many of the now-closed brands simply could not cover their debt.

The list of closed breweries includes Forgotten Boardwalk Brewing of Cherry Hill, N.J., King State of Tampa, Fla., and even the famed Anchor Brewing of San Francisco closed its doors. On May 31, Shepherd Futures, the family office of Hamdi Ulukaya, the billionaire founder and CEO of Chobani yogurt, said in a statement that it was going to purchase Anchor Brewing’s assets and would relaunch the brand.

A number of other brewers have filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and face an uncertain future. These include Roth Brewing of Raleigh, N.C., and SpringGate Vineyard’s owner, Schoffstall Farm.

The difficult time in the passion-based business game has also hurt coffee roasters, growers, and cafe chains as well. California’s Frinj Coffee filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in January, and Patis Bakery, a kosher-cafe chain with multiple outlets in New York and New Jersey, filed in June.

Ink Coffee, a coffee brand, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on June 20, reporting assets of under $50,000 and debts between $1 million and $10 million. The company began in 1994 when Founder Keith Herbert visited Italy to study the art of coffee making. Ink Coffee grew to multiple cafe locations and a roastery, roasting beans at its facility in Denver’s Rino neighborhood.

Ink Coffee’s bankruptcy filing does not include a funding or turnaround plan, but its five cafes in metro Denver appear to be open and its website is still taking orders.

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