Monday, March 20, 2006

Tim Horton's Goes Public

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Now investors will be able to own a piece of their doughnut, and eat it too. Tim Horton's, a national icon of our coffee-guzzling, bagel cream-cheese spreading culture, went on the New York and Toronto Stock Exchange today as a publicly traded company.

If you've ever been to Canada, you'll know the coffee shop well. It's a place where you can go to get a nice warm beverage to buffer yourself against the harsh snowy climate, or bulk up on some chili, bagels and doughnuts. They are on every block, over 2000 of them! Connected to gas stations, basically cornering you wherever you go. Tim Horton's commercials glorify their connection to Canadianism, often featuring heart-warming stories about the little hockey players of the future or father and son bonding sessions, and this is what people appreciate. It's not just a cup of coffee, it's sentimental value. I've always hated the music they play on the commercials -accoustic guitar, somewhat reminiscent of the music you might hear on Corner Gas or Dr.Phil.

It's funny how Tim Horton's is a Canadian icon, but most of its investors will be Americans. Just recently, after much persuading by our soldiers in Afghanistan, Tim Horton's agreed to set itself up in Kandahar. The Americans got their Pizza Pizza and their Burger King in the land of jihad, Canadian soldiers wanted a little something of their own too. Talk about something familiar in the foreign. Will the Tim Horton diaspora dilute it's national identity? Will it help our peace keepers spread goodwill? Will turning it into a publicly traded company turn it into a faceless corporation? Will it just help the rich get richer? It's actually owned by Wendy's. Speaking of Wendy's, this happened last year: check out what this couple was willing do for some extra cash!
Once it was a modest burger joint, then that didn't work, so it switched over to coffee and doughnuts. There's an urban legend that they put trace amounts of nicotene to make the coffee addiction. I think the sugar's enough to do it. Near Christmas time, they still print the story on the cup about some couple met over a cup of coffee and lived happily ever after. That was the old days -the days when Tim Horton's was still run by Tim's folks, hockey player that made the name. When the American Krispy Kreme was introduced to Ontario this last year, it didn't do as well as expected. I guess you could say the market was a little saturated?

Some people like my dad, hate Tim Hortons with a seething passion. He says they are the biggest source of pollution around. It's true, when I go jogging, there are two things that line the roads: dead ground hogs, and Tim Horton's coffee cups! People admire Tim Horton's for their entrepreneurialship, others call it encroachment. Their support of the community is admirable -they sponsor kids to go to camp or teams to play hockey and soccer, but then there are always idling cars full of lazy arses waiting outside each Tim Horton's and when people are done chugging, they start chucking -wrappers, bags, cups UGH! An old friend who visited Canada from abroad was instantly sceptical or at least uncomfortably uncertain: "I don't know about all these Tim Horton's" she said.

Whatever you think about Tim Horton's, the business is growing, like a lochness monster stretching its tentacles around the globe. Perhaps it will inspire Afghanis to crave 'double doubles' or cause children to war over the 'rrrroll up the rim to win' prizes that they find routing through dumpsters for cups. Perhaps it will cheer the terror-torn hearts of our soldiers abroad with nationalistic nostalgia. Well, if I may, I'll put in my little timbit: investors shouldn't be too overenthusiastic about results. Rapid expansion can bring about instability. On the other hand, could this be the time to strike it rich off the coffee stocks? Only Timmy knows.

Filed under Opinions


Blogger Maddy said...

I am buying stock - as I love
those maple dip donuts.


8:59 p.m.  
Blogger sirbarrett said...

I like the sour cream glazed, or, when I'm feeling cruel, I can be outdone by a cherry crueller. I'm a sucker for caffeine.

9:02 p.m.  
Blogger Maddy said...

The sour cream glazed are my
favorite timbits.
They are really heavy and
before I started yoga made me pudgy.

10:17 p.m.  
Blogger Frap Gurl said...

I think i would like me a Tom Horton's around here Bagels, coffee & chili! Sounds scrumptious!

12:43 a.m.  
Blogger Chloe said...

we don't have them here.
we only have dunkin donuts and there was a major food scandal over those. so no donuts for a while.

2:27 a.m.  
Blogger Jason said...

I guess I don't need to mention the name of my blog and whether or not I can eat these anymore.


3:50 p.m.  
Blogger J said...

"It's funny how Tim Horton's is a Canadian icon, but most of its investors will be Americans"

That's like saying it's strange how Microsoft is an American icon, yet does the majority of its sales outside of the US.

6:02 p.m.  
Blogger sirbarrett said...

madelyn -I too have decided to let sour cream glazed live on only in my memory. Otherwise I wouldn't be able to see my toes.

frap gurl -Tom eh?

chloe -oh well. No doughnuts. I hope there's still dunkin of some sort.

jimmy -So you wouldn't agree that "there's always time for Tim Horton's"?

j -The ownership issue is just one of those things that makes me go hmmm. The difference between Microsoft and Tim Horton's in my mind is that Tim Horton's seems to be marketed as distinctly Canadian, Microsoft is everywhere. Maybe it's only marketed this way here. While Tim's does have outlets elsewhere, no where does a fast food outlet surpass the sales of giants like McDonald's the way Tim Horton's does in Canada. When I think of Microsoft, I think of Bill Gates or even just computer. I can't really think of a computer without thinking Microsoft but I don't necessarily think of America. You're right though, it's not all that strange for a cultural icon to be funded by people of a culture other than the one it represents in today's globalized world. It's just one of those things that makes me go hmmm.

1:17 p.m.  
Blogger Jason said...

Tip: The muffins have more calories than the donuts. Don't be fooled!

4:05 p.m.  
Blogger Lorena said...

this definitely makes me crave some of this coffee accept i will throw the cup away in the garbage - where it belongs- i don't litter bugs :)!

i don't like krispy kreme. i stay away from donuts but i love my chocolate chip bagel every morning.

5:23 p.m.  
Blogger J said...

"Tim Horton's seems to be marketed as distinctly Canadian, Microsoft is everywhere."

True, but greed is global.

"I can't really think of a computer without thinking Microsoft but I don't necessarily think of America."

See, I immediately think Redmond, Washington (the site of the company HQ -- "the campus"). But I guess I'm just a geek.

7:38 a.m.  

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