After barely a year of operation, the Tim Hortons in Amelia has been shuttered, following a trend of Cincinnati-based locations also closing.
On Aug. 6, four of the five locations were closed: Oxford, Colerain Township, Erlanger and Amelia’s. Only the location on the campus of the University of Cincinnati remains open, but it has a different management system.
Tim Hortons’ parent company, Restaurant Brands International, released a statement saying, “We have mutually agreed with the franchisee in this market to de-brand a small number of restaurants.”
Known for its coffee and doughnuts, Tim Hortons Inc. was founded in 1964 in Hamilton, Ontario by hockey player Tim Horton and Jim Charade. It’s Canada’s largest quick service restaurant chain. There are 811 Tim Hortons in America, with 75 of those in Ohio.
The Amelia location had its official grand opening on July 14, 2017, located on Ohio Pike 125 directly across from its competitor, Dunkin Donuts.
At the time, The Sun had described the opening as “like a U2 concert” because of the crowd, interest and enthusiasm at the event.
All four locations in Cincinnati were managed by QSR7 Ventures and its CEO, Fabio Godinho, was on hand for remarks and the ribbon cutting.
“It is a big pleasure to be here,” Godinho said at the time.
Godinho could not be reached for comment regarding the closings.
Steve Goldstein, regional manager for Tim Hortons, who couldn’t be reached for comment, also had spoken at the event.
“Two and a half years ago, developing the Cincinnati market for Tim was a dream and it was just an idea and now to see six restaurants in the market with many more opening this year, we couldn’t be more excited to be with you here today in Amelia; we’re huge supporters of the community,” Goldstein said.
The Sun, however, did connect with Brandon Calhoun, the store manager for much of the restaurant’s short history in Amelia.
“I don’t know the reason they closed 100 percent, as I had left the company about a month prior to that. It seemed inevitable with the amount of money QSR7 was losing on our P and L,” Calhoun said.
P and L refers to the profit and loss statement showing revenues, costs and expenses, one of a number of ways a company gauges its financial status, along with a balance sheet and cash flow statement.
Calhoun, who is an assistant manager at Burger King now, said the Amelia location had potential being on the morning side of traffic and across from a large competitor.
“However, with no signs of life in that strip mall behind it, there wasn’t much around to help increase volume, as well as brand awareness was just not there,” he said. “I do think the ones in charge of the company could have done a few things better during the store open.”
He continued, “It seemed like we were playing a game of catch up from the time the store opened. We didn’t hire enough people for the volume we had at the beginning.
Don’t mistake this for Calhoun blaming everyone else: he said even he could have done things better. “But we all learn from our experiences,” he said.
Calhoun said he knew many people who were baffled by the closures, but each store was losing money.
QSR7 is a small company with less than 200 employees and founded in 2015.
“We are proud to be the Area Developers bringing Tim Hortons to the Greater Cincinnati Area,” their site boasts. “Our mission is to be the FASTEST growing QSR brand in the Greater Cincinnati region, delivering VALUE to our shareholders and development opportunities to our 100% COMMITTED franchisees and team members.”
Essentially, QSR7 acts as the middleman between Tim Hortons and the franchisee, offering support, including the site selection, construction and design.
Matt Van Sant, the president and CEO of the Clermont County Chamber of Commerce, had no information about the closure of Tim Hortons in Amelia.
“However, we are optimistic that the building will be occupied quickly,” he said. “Markets across Clermont County, including the Batavia-Pierce Township areas and Amelia Village are strengthening, as demonstrated by the explosion of housing permit activity countywide and in those areas specifically (i.e. Siena Gardens).”
Siena Gardens Rehabilitation and Transitional Care is a retirement home located on Ohio Pike 125, a few minutes drive from where that Tim Hortons was located.
Van Sant also provided The Sun a chart of “Building Activity Reports” to show the number of residential and commercial permits issued by year. The total permits issued have steadily risen since 2015, almost reaching 5,000 in 2017.