Caribou Coffee Company is a specialty coffee and espresso retailer. Caribou Coffee is a Minnesota-based company (owned by German holding company JAB) with more than 273 company-owned coffeehouses in 18 states and the District of Columbia, as well as 203 franchise locations in 10 countries
Caribou Coffee founder, John Puckett, was working as a management consultant for Boston-based firm Bain & Company, helping develop ideas and strategies for other companies, when he decided he wanted to become an entrepreneur. After a trip to Denali National Park in Alaska, he and his wife, Kim, decided to raise money and start a coffee company. His wife stayed with a job at General Motors while John moved to Minnesota to find the first site and put together financing.
The initial concept for Caribou was a five-day-a-week schedule aimed at downtown office workers, mimicking what worked in Boston. Puckett signed a lease for the first location to be in the large Pillsbury Center office building. However, soon afterward the building’s landlord decided not to sign the lease, because another of the building’s retail tenants had exclusive rights to selling coffee in the building and had threatened to sue them. As a result, the financing for the store fell through because it was dependent on that specific site. Puckett opted to start looking for an available location in the suburbs, and the first Caribou Coffee shop was started in Edina, Minnesota, a suburb of Minneapolis, in December 1992.
Arcapita was Caribou Coffee’s majority shareholder. In 2002, Yusuf al-Qaradawi’s involvement with the bank led to a protest of Caribou Coffee. That same year al-Qaradawi stepped down as chairman of the bank’s Sharia board.
In May 2013, Caribou Coffee announced plans to close 80 stores in Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Washington D.C., Maryland, Virginia, Georgia, Illinois and Eastern Wisconsin, with 88 others in those locations to be converted to Peet’s Coffee & Tea during 2013-2014. Caribou locations would remain open in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Western Wisconsin, Iowa, Kansas, North Carolina, Denver, and ten international markets.