Industry News | March 24, 2008

PJ's Coffee of New Orleans to Be Sold

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Raving Brands announced today that PJ’s USA, Inc. and PJ’s Wholesale, Inc. entered into an agreement with New Orleans Roast, L.L.C. and New Orleans Brew, L.L.C. for the purchase of the assets of the PJ’s Coffee of New Orleans franchise system and coffee roasting business. The deal is expected to close this spring and is subject to due diligence and certain closing conditions.

New Orleans Roast and New Orleans Brew are affiliates of the New Orleans-based Ballard family, who, in partnership with lifelong friends and local business owners born and raised in south Louisiana, intend to bring PJ’s back to its place of origin. Franchisees since 1995, New Orleans Roast and New Orleans Brew currently own and operate five PJ’s Coffee of New Orleans locations, and intend to develop and manage additional stores in the future.

“Like Phyllis Jordan, who founded this great coffee company in 1978, our family has been vested in and passionate about PJ’s throughout the course of the company’s 30-year history,” explains Paul Ballard, partner, New Orleans Roast and New Orleans Brew. “Raving Brands has placed us in a very strong position to grow PJ’s Coffee of New Orleans in the Southeast as the premier coffee company with a proud heritage, a distinct coffee palate, a roasting facility in the heart of New Orleans, and a base of customers as loyal as any brand can have.”

Jordan founded PJ’s years prior to the specialty coffee movement. Today, there are 48 PJ’s Coffee of New Orleans locations, largely in the Southeast.

“We have made sure that the PJ’s brand has found a home with family and friends who were raised in south Louisiana, who already love the concept and all that is distinct about it,” explains Stephen M. LaMastra, president and chief operating officer of Raving Brands. Upon closing, says LaMastra, “the PJ’s franchise system will be in great hands with the direction of these local owners, who have been heavily involved in the success of PJ’s for many years, and who are committed to the integrity of this great brand.”

LaMastra adds that “as we have stated since early last year, Raving Brands is committed to a portfolio strategy with its concepts, but must be willing to look further for partnership or even sale to highly qualified partners who are eager to take a certain concept to the next level.”

“In 2002, PJ’s Coffee became the first established concept that Raving Brands added to its portfolio, and it has evolved into a real leader in the specialty coffee industry. PJs has withstood competitive challenges and the impact of Hurricane Katrina, and much like the city of New Orleans, PJ’s has remained a compelling brand and a special place for its consumers” adds Randy Hollingsworth, vice president and brand leader, PJ’s Coffee of New Orleans. Hollingsworth says further that “from the coffee, to the retail experience, to the belief that it will be the quintessential coffee destination in the Southeast, PJ’s will remain true to its roots”.