Albertsons drops lawsuit against bakery and growler

Posted at 10:21 PM, Aug 07, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-09 15:53:25-04

UPDATE: Albertsons has dropped a lawsuit against a local Boise bakery and a growler shop after claiming the two businesses were violating an exclusive use lease agreement.

“When Albertsons filed these lawsuits at the end of July, we had no visibility into the lease agreements that had been provided to Granny C’s and CopenRoss Growlers,” said John Colgrove, President of the Intermountain Division of Albertsons. “It was only when the details of Granny C’s lease agreement were made public that we learned about the discrepancies between their lease agreement and ours. Our lease agreement from 1987 stipulates that the landlord must provide us with the opportunity to review businesses that might directly compete with products we sell. The landlord didn’t uphold their obligations to Albertsons when the landlord recruited these new tenants for Hillcrest Shopping Center. Unfortunately, all three businesses have suffered damages as a result of the landlord’s failure to uphold its obligations to Albertsons under our original lease agreement.”

Colgrove continued, saying: “We have reached out to the business owners of Granny C’s and CopenRoss Growlers so that we can work together to resolve the issues that have arisen from the improper lease agreements that were created by the landlord. We have a long history of supporting local businesses big and small, and this is no exception. For over three years, Albertsons has reached out to this landlord on a number of infractions, and it has been incredibly difficult to work with them. We are disappointed that the landlord misled these two local businesses, and we deeply regret any distress that the owners of Granny C’s and CopenRoss Growlers experienced as a result of this dispute. Albertsons is committed to working alongside these tenants to reach an amicable resolution with the landlord.”

The lawsuit against landlord FPA Shoppes remains.

Original Story: Albertsons is suing a local Boise bakery and a growler shop. They claim the two businesses are violating an exclusive use lease agreement. The owner of the bakery, however, doesn’t think anything has been violated.

The defendants named in the lawsuit are Granny C’s Bakery, CopenRoss Growlers, and FPA Shoppes at Hillcrest LLC, the property manager. Albertsons filed the lawsuit on July 30, 2019.

In the lawsuit, Albertsons claims they are losing business because CopenRoss and Granny C’s both sell two products available for purchase at the grocery store.

“The amount of sales we do in one month may be the amount of some of their stores that sell in one hour,” said Brad deBoer, Owner of Granny C’s Bakery.

But the money doesn’t matter to Brad, who opened Granny C’s Bakery in April of this year.

“I’ve always wanted to have a small sandwich shop,” said Brad.

His daughter, a pastry chef, wanted a place to showcase and sell her work to the community. So for the last four months, the two of them have successfully run the small bakery, which sits at the corner of Overland and Orchard in Boise. That’s why it came as a big shock to them when, on July 30, they were served lawsuit papers.

“We have been sued by Albertsons LLC, a Delaware corporation,” said Brad.

Granny C’s isn’t the only business being sued. They are joined as defendants by CopenRoss Growlers and FPA Shoppes at Hillcrest, the property manager.

The reason the lawsuit was filed, according to Albertsons, is because the two companies, which are located in the same parking lot as the grocery store, are hurting Albertsons business.

“The products that we serve are a different type of product than they serve,” said Brad.

The other reason: Albertsons claims Granny C’s and CopenRoss are violating an exclusive use lease agreement. In the original lease agreement provided by Granny C’s, it states, “no supermarket exceeding 5,000 SF that includes the use of a bakery or delicatessen, fresh or frozen meat, fish, poultry or produce for off-premises consumption."

However, it also states the allowances for businesses that do not “exceed 2,000 square feet for each use; donut shop, sandwich shop allowing on-premises consumption, a take-out or take-and-bake pizza store, ice cream or candy, retail operation selling gourmet coffee and pastries for on premises consumption.”

“The lease that I have stated that we were going to be doing everything that we were doing,” said Brad.

Granny C’s is only 1,650 square feet.

“The property owner wrote the lease that we signed, so you have to assume that we were not in violation,” said Brad.

In a statement released by Albertsons, they said, “Albertsons Companies operates grocery stores with other small businesses and tenants in shopping centers locally and around the country, and we recognize how these businesses can help communities thrive. That isn't what this issue is about. Typically, shopping center businesses have mutual interests and all can benefit from their neighbors, and our team works hard to ensure we are a good neighbor. All shopping centers are governed by defined covenants—similar to a homeowners or neighborhood association —to protect the value of the respective businesses. This is for everyone’s benefit. In this instance, Albertsons seeks to address its landlord’s failure to follow the agreed-upon restrictions. Prior to filing suit, we notified the landlord of our concerns, and the landlord failed to adequately respond. Our objective here is to fairly resolve the situation to the mutual satisfaction of everyone, which is consistent with our business practices.”

Since the lawsuit was filed, Granny C’s said they have had a huge outpouring of support from the community. They even had to close early for the first days ever after selling out.

And a GoFundMe page was started, but Granny C’s said, while grateful, they can’t accept it.

“Other people are not gonna join a stupid fight between what some people are calling a large bully and just a small little family bakery that’s working its [expletive] off to be successful,” said Brad.

Granny C's said they do not plan to hire a lawyer due to finances.

We reached out to the owner of CopenRoss, but they declined to comment.

We’ll keep you updated on the lawsuit as it progresses. As of now, no court date has been set.