Coffee fans in Ottawa got some big news on December 5 with the announcement that the company behind the Canadian coffee chain Second Cup is buying local hot spot Bridgehead. However, the company says Second Cup's Bridgehead buy-out will not change the chain too much but could help to expand it.

The Ottawa chain was bought for $9.5 million, $6 million of which was paid in cash, with the remainder being paid in Second Cup shares. Further payouts of $1.5 million could be made depending on the performance of individual locations.

"Bridgehead is the quintessential 'amazing brand,'" Steven Pelton, CEO of Aegis Brands (parent company of Second Cup), said in a press release, "a company with a deep sense of purpose, strong roots in its community and an incredible potential for growth."

The capital city company was founded in 1981 by two United Church ministers and two social activists. It was the first to provide fair trade coffee in Canada, and it grew from there.

"There are few brands in Canada that live their values the way that Bridgehead does," Pelton said, "in every customer interaction, in every product they source and in every business decision they make."

Currently, Bridgehead has 19 locations in Ottawa; they will continue to operate under the brand name following the acquisition.

"Joining Aegis gives us access to the resources to expand our footprint without needing to change who we are or what we do best," Tracey Clark, Bridgehead's current president and CEO said. 

She added that the company will still advocate for small farmers and continue "creating a sense of belonging for our customers and employees."

Clark also maintained that Bridgehead would not face any drastic changes after the sale to Second Cup's company. 

She told CBC News, "I guess the thing that I really like about this is I feel very reassured that we will be able to grow according to our brand values, and that we will be able to operate with autonomy and independence."

The final deal between the two coffee chains is expected to close later this month. The head office for Bridgehead will remain in Ottawa.


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