Roasters Coffee over the years exploded as a Tri-City area favorite, but the last two years have seen their shops change to Black Rock, and now Wake Up Coffee locations. Now, the Tri-City Area Journal of Business reports on the two-year-long, three player battle over coffee in Tri-Cities.

Lawsuit changed the Tri-City Coffee Stand landscape

According to new information published by the Tri-Cities Area Journal of Business (TCAJOB), hundreds of court papers and documents show the last 24 months have been a battle for the three businesses.

Wes Heyden, the original founder-owner of Roasters Coffee, had originally agreed to sell his coffee stands in 2020 to Wake Up Call, a Spokane-based company. According to the TCAJOB, an agreement "went out" to be signed in December of that year.

However, court papers show Heyden did not sign it right away, and in January 2021 he decided to sell to Black Rock Coffee instead.  Court documents show in September of 2020, Wake Up and Heyden signed what is called a term sheet. It required continued good faith negotiations and they could not reveal any information to third-parties.

A final purchase agreement was reached in December to sell Roasters and its roasting company for $8 million dollars. However, in January, 2021 Heyden revealed he was going to instead sell to Black Rock after having entered into negotiations with them. The TCJOB reports he felt it was a better fit. Black Rock is much larger, now with over 100 locations in WA, OR, and other states.

   Wake Up Call files lawsuit

This resulted in a lawsuit filed in Spokane by Wake Up Call, in late January 2021. The situation finally went to binding arbitration in October of 2022 and ended with Heyden being legally required to fulfill the original contract and sell to Wake Up Call. Court papers also show, says the TCAJOB, that Black Rock was found to have “tortiously interfered.”  There are several types of this interference, but one of the definitions is when a defendant wrongfully interferes with a plaintiff's contractual or business relationships.

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This explains why the Ro]aster's signs were replaced with Black Rock and now Wake Up Call.  Wake Up now has 14 locations in the Tri-Cities and Walla Walla.

For even more on this story, check out the information from the TCAJOB.

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