Heine Brothers’, Vint merger update: Gary Heine out after ‘a great 17-year run’
Wow, this was a bit out of nowhere.
Earlier today, we heard Heine Brothers’ Coffee co-owner Mike Mays had a deal with Vint Coffee’s Chuck Schnatter.
Now, we get the news release announcing a merger that we’d heard for a while was, ah, brewing.
To us, it seems like a no-brainer.
Heine Brothers’ gets two downtown stores that seem strong along with an entree into the Brownsboro Road/Holiday Manor corridor with Vint’s locations there in eastern Jefferson County.
In turn, Schnatter, who retired from his brother’s pizza chain last year, gets in Mike Mays someone who seems to have figured out how sophisticated the coffee shop business – which looks so simple – really is.
Mays and co-founder Gary Heine, who’s leaving, built the Heine brand as equal parts coffee connoissuership and social fairness, paying Third World coffee farmers a fair price for exotic beans through their cooperative.
At the same time, they chose sound real estate, with stores on Chenoweth Lane in St. Matthews and in Gardiner Lane Shopping center that seem to be booming in areas others overlooked.
(Full disclosure: I helped broker the Chenoweth Lane deal for a friend who owns the property, but received no remuneration.)
This is a story that takes more than one telling because of Vint’s complex history. Here is the Insider Louisville’s post from June about the name change, which includes background.
And here’s the news release in full.
More as we know more.
Heine Brothers’ and VINT to Merge to Create Stronger Local Coffee Options for Louisville
Mike Mays, co-founder of Louisville-based Heine Brothers’ Coffee (Heine Brothers’), announced today that he recently purchased co-founder Gary Heine’s interest in the 17-year old coffee chain. Following this purchase, Mays agreed to merge Heine Brothers’ with Louisville-based HYPERLINK “http://www.vintcoffee.com” VINT Coffee (VINT) with a commitment to remaining Louisville’s favorite independent coffee options. The combined companies now have 13 convenient locations.
“Gary and I have had a great 17-year run as co-owners of Heine Brothers’,” said Mays. “He has been a good partner over the years, and his values are a big part of who Heine Brothers’ is today. I also have a lot of respect for the VINT team and know them well. We see this as a fun opportunity to work together instead of working against each other. We will be able to accomplish so much more and are excited about the impact our combined efforts will have on the Louisville community. By bringing these two great local brands together, we will remain 100% locally owned and operated, and our commitment to our community and the many non-profits we already support will be as strong as ever.”
Heine Brothers’, a fair trade, organic coffee roastery with nine cafes in Louisville, was co-founded by Heine and Mays in October 1994. VINT, which operates four cafes in Louisville, has been owned and operated by Green Beans LLC partners Chuck Schnatter, Chris Lavenson and Toni Lavenson.
“Given that our locations match up well without much geographic overlap, we thought now would be the logical time to bring these two strong businesses together to make them even stronger,” added Schnatter. “We plan to run the two businesses independently for the foreseeable future while we do some research over the next 6 – 12 months to determine what our employees and customers love best about each of our cultures, values and business practices to help the partnership evolve and grow. Our respective customers should experience no difference in the great coffee and service they have come to love at their favorite Heine Brothers’ or VINT locations.”
Partners of the new combined entity, Heine Brothers’ VINT Coffee, are Mike Mays, Chuck Schnatter, Chris Lavenson and Toni Lavenson. Mays will continue as President, complemented by the passion and experience the Lavensons have for the business in the day to day management of the company. Heine Brothers and VINT stores will continue to be served by their combined area managers and staff with no reductions in headcount planned.
For more information, please visit HYPERLINK “http://heinebroscoffee.com/” http://heinebroscoffee.com/ and HYPERLINK “http://www.vintcoffee.com/” www.vintcoffee.com/.