In bankruptcy, Tully's will shut "unprofitable" location here
As we reported on our Facebook page this afternoon, Tully's Chapter 11 bankruptcy, announced earlier today, has implications for coffee drinkers in Madison Park. Sunday will be the last operating day for our neighborhood Tully's. It is one of eight Seattle-area stores that the company will be closing, according a story in the online edition the Puget Sound Business Journal. Tully's has been struggling financially for many years (indeed, its ultimate demise has been assumed in some quarters for much of the company's twenty-year history). Tully's Chapter 11 filing does not mean that the company is going under, however, since a reorganization plan will be developed while the company is in bankruptcy. If the plan is acceptable to the creditors and the court, Tully's will likely emerge in a somewhat slimmed down form. But Madison Park will clearly not be part of Tully's future, whatever that might be.
Though it might have been journalistically correct to enter Tully's this evening to interview the staff and patrons about their reactions to the bankruptcy, we decided that would be gauche. It's hard, however, not to think about the employees now losing their jobs, as well as those Tully's aficionados who will in future have no coffee-house alternative to Starbucks in the neighborhood.
Columnist Knute Berger once claimed to see Madison Park as a neighborhood divided along a Starbucks vs. Tully's fault line:
"Starbucks and Tully's are locally founded chains...One is much like the other. But the difference in feel between these two cafes is marked...Tully's embodies some kind of older, village version of Madison Park. Starbucks seems to bustle like a cross between a busy ski lodge and a place where people in office-casual dress take meetings. The Starbucks and its customers seem a little more groomed, more LA, more SUV. Tully's is a bit more neighborly, relaxed. It's old tennis shoes versus the tennis club."
With Tully's gone, how are we going to differentiate ourselves now?
[Tully's is located at 4036 E. Madison Street.]