by Dan Rafter
Don’t know Tim Hortons? If you live in the St. Louis area, that’s about to change.
Tim Hortons is an institution in Canada. The Oakville, Ontario-based chain was founded in 1964 in Hamilton, Ontario. Tim Hortons has some good donuts. But it’s famous for its coffee. As of September of last year, the chain boasted 3,665 Canadian locations and 869 in the United States.
Earlier this year, construction crews started building the first Tim Hortons in the St. Louis area, breaking ground in Maplewood, Missouri. That store is expected to open June 23.
This is just the start of Tim Hortons’ expansion into the region. The St. Louis area should see 40 new Tim Hortons by the end of 2019 operated by developer/franchisee Show Me Hospitality, a company led by president Eric Sigurdson.
This represents the first large-scale area development agreement that Tim Hortons has completed in the United States.
Sigurdson is a good choice to bring Tim Hortons to the area. One of Sigurdson’s previous companies — Sweet Traditions — opened 25 Krispy Kreme restaurants in St. Louis and Chicago from 1997 through 2006.
Sigurdson also knows the Tim Hortons menu. He was born in Canada and, like many Canadians, grew up drinking the chain’s coffee and eating its doughnuts and sandwiches.
St. Louis-based law firm Armstong Teasdale is playing an important role in bringing Tim Hortons coffee and doughnuts to St. Louis. The firm is providing legal services to Show Me Hospitality as it develops its Tim Hortons locations.
Calvin Matthews, a partner in the firm’s corporate services group, is heading the legal team representing Show Me Hospitality. He said that Show Me Hospitality is making a bit of history in the United States with the agreement it’s crafted with Tim Hortons.
“The distinction between my client and franchisees already in place in the United States is that Show Me Hospitality is the first large-scale area developer for Tim Hortons in this country,” Matthews said. “We are not going to be opening one, two or three stores. We are opening 40 in the next five years. We are covering a large geographic area, almost to Indiana and Illinois.”
The first Tim Hortons locations in the region, though, will focus on what Matthews calls a main core thoroughfare through the core center of St. Louis.
“The goal is to build up the brand reputation here,” Matthews said. “We don’t see this as being a struggle. The brand is well known throughout the United States even in areas where there are no stores. We think that by opening locations in core areas around St. Louis, we’ll build up even more awareness of the Tim Hortons brand.”
Matthews said that Tim Hortons has a good chance of becoming a St. Louis mainstay. That’ s partly because of its varied menu and reasonable prices. In addition to coffee and doughnuts, the chain serves breakfast sandwiches, muffins, soups, chili, chicken sandwiches and wraps.