(Unhappy Franchisee) Here’s a big surprise: Cork & Olive, the Tampa-based wine bar franchisor that shuttered its headquarters and eight company-owned stores last week, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in a Hillsborough court yesterday.
Last week’s Cork & Olive HQ laid off 40 Cork & Olive employees and left the owners of nine franchised locations (and others in development) scrambling for a survival plan. The Orlando franchise location had only been open for a week.
The company line, as reported by the Tampa Bay Business Journal, was that Cork & Olive founder and president Michael Probst “had been working on the assumption a New York hedge fund was going to invest about $3-million in the company. But when the fund insisted on taking a controlling interest, Probst opted to shut down instead.”
Why Would Michael Probst Opt Refuse to Cede Control of an Insolvent Company?
Let’s get this straight: Probst opted to take a poison pill, like some maniac villain lover from a 3rd rate movie (If I can’t have her, NO ONE WILL!)? That didn’t make any sense, since surely the stranded franchisees could come after him for wooing – then abandoning – them. No… Probst’s need to close and declare bankruptcy continues to become clearer with the information being posted here, which alleges that Probst, Cork & Olive Franchise Corp., and affiliate Estate Wine Group were the target of several lawsuits and already owed on judgements in excess of $1 Million.
Will the Cork & Olive franchise owners band together and carry on? Will they overcome this temporary setback and become more successful with Michael Probst? We’re pulling for them. Stay tuned for the next episode of Days of Wine & Franchises… here on UnhappyFranchisee.com
FranchisePick.Com: Cork & Olive Wine Franchisor Folds; Franchisees Scramble to Survive,
FranchisePick.Com: Cork & Olive Franchise Corp. Collapse: What’s the REAL Story?,
Unhappy Franchisee: What REALLY Uncorked Cork & Olive Franchise Corp? ,
Unhappy Franchisee: Cork & Olive Wine Shop Franchise Owners Left High & Dry
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