For the past 16 years, Patteen Leverson has been the woman behind the counter—and the baked goodies—at the fittingly-named Café Patteen in the downtown Minneapolis International Centre office tower.
But because of a mean landlord, she says, her small store may soon be no more. Next month, Caribou Coffee will open a branch in the Oracle Centre—her building’s conjoined twin. Leverson accuses the property’s owner, Welsh Companies, of wooing the megachain in an effort to force her out.
"I was told I was free to leave because the block cannot support two coffee places," says Leverson, who has about six years left on a 10-year lease. "It's a shitty thing to do someone who's been loyal for so long."
Mike Perkins, Senior VP at Welsh Companies, denies Leverson's assertion. "There's no ulterior motive for anything," he says. "As long as she pays her lease, we're happy."