A key skill for CEOs of imploded franchise companies is denial, accompanied by a ninja-like avoidance of any admission of responsibility. Unsurprisingly, that same trait usually helped them get in that situation in the first place.
Cork & Olive’s Michael Probst demonstrated his prowess in another hardhitting interview with Tampa Bay Online: Cork & Olive Owner Hopes To Reopen Stores Here are a few of the implicit questions asked, and the answers given.
Q. Why is the Northwoods Cork & Olive store closed?
This lie is a non-issue for both Probst and the writer, who refers to the dishonesty of the “Closed for repairs” sign as a “euphemism.”
Q. Why did Cork & Olive parent Probst’s Estate Wine Group file for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection?
A. “a key investor backed out of a deal”
Well done. It was the fault of a “key investor.” No one will point out that if he did not invest, he was not an investor. And if he was not an investor, how was he “key”?
Q. Did Probst leave franchisees high and dry?
A. Not at all. He “set them free.”
Brilliant! Bravo! Franchisees each paid you $60,000 franchise fees only to be uncaged and set free like little songbirds!
Q. Will the store open
A. Shortly. “We are waiting on an investment group to step in and take over”
Not the masterful subtlety. A “key” investor group would have been overkill. He doesn’t say there is one, just that they’re waiting. Of course, the reason he originally gave for the investor backing out was his unwillingness to let them “take over.” But that was weeks ago.
Q. Why did the Cork & Olive franchise company fail?
A. “‘I really think that, looking back, it grew too fast,’ Probst said.”
That darn company! How many times did he tell it to slow down? But you know companies… got a minds of their own. Spending like drunken vintners. Running up millions in debt.
It’s a good thing for Michael Probst set the franchisees free and got out of there when he did! Think of what that darn Cork & Olive might have done to his good name!