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Ever want to open your own Spot Coffee?

The Toronto-based coffee chain is finalizing plans to franchise its coffee and sandwich shops.

Spot said it has all the infrastructure in place and will be able to sign agreements on existing and new Spot franchise locations within about four months.

The company also plans to franchise four of its existing locations, including three in the Buffalo region and one in Rochester. The company is still evaluating which locations it will keep under corporate control and which will be available for franchise, but said it will definitely keep its Delaware Avenue location near Chippewa Street to be used for staff training and menu development. One other Buffalo location and its Toronto shop will be retained for the same purposes. The Elmwood Avenue Spot Coffee in Buffalo will be put up for franchising.

The company said franchising will accelerate the development of new cafes and grow the Spot brand throughout New York State at a lower operating cost than corporate-owned locations.

“We have built a really good foundation, a really strong infrastructure to grow,” said Anton Ayoub, chief executive officer of Spot Coffee. “We have a well-performing number of cafes and by going into franchising, we believe we can achieve faster growth, which is good for business.”

Spot will retain a majority ownership stake in its Orchard Park, Hertel Avenue and Saratoga Springs locations, and continue to manage two licensed cafes in Florida – an existing one in Delray Beach and another under construction in Miami.

“It’s a popular concept and our customers are generally very pleased with Spot and its function as a neighborhood cafe,” Ayoub said. “Growing it I think will continue our work in serving neighborhoods and communities.”

The franchise venture will create several new positions within the company, the hiring for which will all happen through Spot’s head office in Buffalo.

Spot Coffee is owned by Innomarque, a private equity group in Richmond Hill, Ont. Once a locally owned and operated coffee shop, Spot Coffee opened its first location on the corner of Delaware Avenue and Chippewa Street in 1996. By 2004, owners Mike and Sally Morin had defaulted on loans and left town. That’s when Innomarque, its largest secured creditor, bought Spot’s equipment and trademarks and took over its two Buffalo restaurants and another in Rochester.

Today, Spot has 12 locations including seven in Western New York, and others in Rochester, Saratoga Springs, Toronto and Florida. Three sites, in Orchard Park, Glens Falls and Miami are expected to open by March.

email: schristmann@buffnews.com