An auction is being held today to determine who will become the new owner of Seattle-based TC Global Inc., otherwise known as the owners of your neighborhood Tully's Coffee. The company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Oct. 10, closing multiple Seattle locations around the same time.
Thursday's auction has attracted a collection of bidders, ranging from the unsurprising to the quite surprising. Let's look at the tale of the tape to see who's head-to-head for the hot drinks.
Starbucks Corp. - It would be more surprising if Starbucks wasn't involved in the bidding. Even if they've already announced plans to open thousands of new stores around the world, another 47 established locations certainly can't hurt.
Dr. McDreamy - Grey's Anatomy is based in Seattle and star Patrick Dempsey seems to have a soft spot for the city, or at least it's local coffee chains. He is part of Global Baristas, which is either an investment group looking to buy Tully's or a really bad halftime act for NBA games.
Baristas Coffee Co. - This one sounds like a wholesome, family-friendly company. But that's because the name forgets to identify itself as "one of those coffee huts with the bikini baristas." With only nine locations (six in Washington), this sounds like more of a PR stunt than a legitimate attempt. Not so sure we can see the Wallingford Tully's re-open with half-naked baristas in the window.
There may also be other unknown suitors for Tully's who have yet to announce themselves. We'll find out who won the auction soon enough, possibly today, though it might remain to be seen if Tully's will begin its comeback or begin to be sold off for spare parts.