"You're Toast!," Jessica Centers, May 3
Thank you for Jessica Centers's enthralling and informative story on Quiznos. Her choices of topic and journalistic style have always caught my attention, but this particular article stands out as the first among greats. I've noticed for the last six months or so that many of the Quiznos shops around my neighborhood were shutting down and wondered what was going on, so when I saw the front page of Westword, I immediately picked up a copy and started reading...and reading...
Despite the fact that I was in a poorly lit bar and had a terrible headache, I couldn't put that paper down! I sat there for hours, hunched, squinting and poring over every word. I had no idea there was so much dishonesty and corruption in the franchise industry! Thank you for opening my eyes. My heart goes out to those hardworking owners and their families.
A very fascinating article on Quiznos, well-written and with some great history about Denver eateries.
I myself "survived" a franchised business. I experienced many of the same problems with my franchisor as did the Quiznos franchise people. Articles like "You're Toast!" should be required reading for anyone looking at the franchise model to go into business. These businesses are mostly schemes to profit the franchisor, not the people who chase the dream of business ownership.
Editor's note: The day after "You're Toast" hit the streets, the Toasted Subs Franchisee Association won a victory in federal court. Late last year, the TSFA -- an advocacy group of Quiznos franchisees -- published on its web page the suicide note of another franchisee who blamed the Denver-based chain for his death; the company reacted by terminating the franchise agreements of every TSFA boardmember. Those boardmembers then filed suit, asking the judge to prevent Quiznos from taking their stores and in the meantime to grant a preliminary injunction so that they could stay open. In February, after five franchisees had settled with Quiznos, the three remaining boardmembers got to testify during a three-day hearing.
On May 3, U.S. District Judge John Kane granted the preliminary injunction. In his decision, the judge also wrote that "it is substantially likely the Plaintiffs will prevail on their claim. Plaintiffs have provided evidence, essentially conceded by Quiznos, demonstrating that the decision to terminate their franchises was made without any investigation or consideration, to punish the swath of franchisees affiliated with the TSFA board regardless of whether those franchisees actually participated in the decision to post the Baber letter."
A trial date has not yet been set.
"Exhibitionists," Patricia Calhoun, May 3
In need of birdcage liner, I noticed that Westword continues to be placed in those convenient red boxes all over Cowtown. So I picked up a copy. Say what you will about Westword, this, uh, newspaper is worth every last cent.
It'd been years since I touched this, uh, newspaper. I leafed past the borderline-racist Ask a Mexican column right to "Exhibitionists," by Patricia Calhoun. A "swingers club" right there in Denver's "art district"?! Holy cow-Patty, what hard-hitting, informative and gutsy journalism. This editor has certainly lost none of her editorial savoir-faire.
It's reassuring to know that Westword continues to have its finger on the pulse of Cowtown. But that's the least of it. The editorial content is now at the same level, virtually At-One-With, the advertising base: the prostitution and porno advertisements that fill up this, uh, newspaper. That's quite an accomplishment.
"Pour It On," Patricia Calhoun, May 3
The reality in Denver's ArtDistrict on Santa Fe the past two years has been far different than the perception: The fact is that very few galleries in the ArtDistrict serve any wine or liquor or beer publicly on First Fridays. Part of the reason is simply logistics. The number of patrons has gotten so large (our counters stopped counting at 1,400 in an individual gallery) that it is simply too expensive and time-consuming to provide adult beverages on First Fridays.
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Wine is typically served for smaller, non-First Friday openings, as is the tradition and practice at art openings all over North America and Europe. Excessive or underage consumption has not been a problem at these small art openings.
The ArtDistrict has regularly advised its members not to serve adult beverages to the general public on First Fridays. The ArtDistrict does not, however, have control over individual businesses and does not police their activities.
One would hope that reasoned thinking will prevail, among gallery owners and at the Denver Department of Excise and Licenses, so that the prudent serving of wine at small art openings is not dampened at a time when the arts in Denver are just beginning to come into their own and garner well-deserved national attention.
Jack D. Pappalardo, president
Denver's ArtDistrict on Santa Fe