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Tully's Coffee to close after New Year's

Original post made on Dec 15, 2015

Tully's Coffee in downtown Pleasanton is set to close after the holidays, a move that surprised some longtime patrons.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, December 15, 2015, 6:48 AM

Comments (58)

Posted by Dave Walden
a resident of another community
on Dec 15, 2015 at 9:06 am

Dave Walden is a registered user.

It is sad to see Tully's going. I hope they can find another location for their friendly atmosphere and great products. They will be missed (except as the catalyst for motorcycles:-))

Posted by Ptown resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 15, 2015 at 9:14 am

What exactly are the "fees" that are added to the rent? Is that a normal thing for property owners to charge?

Posted by resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 15, 2015 at 9:15 am

One less chain in town. dozens more to go.

Posted by wondering
a resident of Stoneridge
on Dec 15, 2015 at 9:31 am

Can they relocate to, maybe Bernal?

Posted by Ss
a resident of Castlewood
on Dec 15, 2015 at 9:43 am

If Tully's had trouble paying the rising rent, the new tenant will likely be a higher margin (read expensive for customers) business. Right?

Posted by Damon
a resident of Foothill Knolls
on Dec 15, 2015 at 10:14 am

If two businesses (Tara's Ice Cream and Tully's) that have successful branches elsewhere are finding that they can't run a profitable business on Semmelmeyer's properties, then that's an indication that Semmelmeyer is too aggressively raising rents and fees on his tenants.

Semmelmeyer's main focus seems to be maximizing profits for himself, so he's likely to look for established chains with name recognition which can generate large revenues from day 1 to move into the open locations rather than taking a chance on some small independent stores which may require some time to build up a following.

Posted by Apples
a resident of California Somerset
on Dec 15, 2015 at 10:16 am

ALL Tully's in California are closing. They are bankrupt. Ours is the last to close. So sad. What will go in it's place? I hope that something that offers us the same 'gathering place' for Pleasanton residence.
Let's hope for something OTHER than another Italian or Japanese restaurant or real estate agency. PLEASSEEE!

Posted by Susan
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Dec 15, 2015 at 10:22 am

Come on Pleasanton!!
Why do we continue to beat up those who just want to run and operate a business in Pleasanton?
Why do those who rent on Main street have extra fees tacked on to their rent?

Does one think we can spin not renewing someone's lease as saying "Pleasanton should be dynamic, it shouldn't be static over time." The charm of Pleasanton went away a long, long time ago. Old school way of thinking needs to be shown the door to allow more room of those who want to what is right for Pleasanton.

Again, look at Livermore and how their downtown is thriving!! Maybe it's because most of us who live in this town prefer Livermore's downtown.

Posted by Mr.P
a resident of Livermore
on Dec 15, 2015 at 10:54 am

I was born and raised here until it came time to buy a home. Did our best to stay but just to expensive. So had to move out of town. Im currently lucky enough to still work on main street, been here 15 years but due to the increase in rent as mentioned by others and by all the closures/relocations we are looking for a new location, so far sounds like it will be out of P-Town. It was a nice town to live in but it just got way to expensive for most these days. Give families and businesses a break its not the desirable town it used to be. Listen to what people are saying and that they leave P-Town for a night out or a place to live. Stop buying/updating police cars and do something better with the money.

Posted by Kristine
a resident of Downtown
on Dec 15, 2015 at 10:54 am

The comment "except for the motorcycles" really? Cause if you ride a motorcycle you must be a troublemaker! Good lord - The bikers have kept the vibe and easy feeling down there for years! Sad to see Tully's Go!

Posted by Allie
a resident of Ruby Hill
on Dec 15, 2015 at 11:34 am

Tullys is the "hub" of downtown Pleasanton. Where else do people meet up with friends to hang out, plan their day, or evening, and likely spend more dollars downtown? Hope they put in something inviting to replace it adequately.
I agree the greedy have chased away many fine people and their businesses with the increasingly high fees and costs. No excuse!

Posted by Good bye Tullys
a resident of Downtown
on Dec 15, 2015 at 11:36 am

Peets is going in. They are expexpanding Fontina since the burrito place is closing too

Posted by Ptown resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 15, 2015 at 12:52 pm

I hope Mr. Semmelmeyer does not run Mangia Mi out of town with his added fees. It is a great place, and consistently has good food.

Posted by Al
a resident of Foothill Knolls
on Dec 15, 2015 at 12:56 pm

Maybe Tara's and Tullys can become massage parlors. We need more of those right?

Seriously can't the city do something about landlords like this? Rents in downtown Pleasanton are higher than those of all surrounding cities. We don't have a vibrant downtown because stores of character can't afford the rent.

Posted by lessismore
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Dec 15, 2015 at 1:10 pm

Maybe it isn't that downtown is losing one more business maybe we need a new
Pleasanton director of economic development and executive director of the Pleasanton Downtown Association.

I moved to Ptwon 16 years ago. At that time I never would of consider going out in downtown Livermore. Now we go to Livermore all the time.


Pam Ott, city of Pleasanton director of economic development, said closures of longtime businesses have a silver lining in that it opens the door for new businesses to put their mark on Pleasanton.

Laura Olson, executive director of the Pleasanton Downtown Association, said Semmelmeyer is a "well-respected property owner in downtown."

"He's a tremendous investor in that area," she said. "He's always thinking about what our downtown needs."

Posted by downtown shopper
a resident of Downtown
on Dec 15, 2015 at 1:36 pm

A few things jump out at me in these posts.

First, the landlord owns the property and the city has no right to impose any limitations on the rent, fees or process of collection. Simple economics. If the rent and fees are too high, find another building and another landlord.

If Pleasanton did want to make a more vibrant downtown they could enact an ordinance that prohibits anything other than retail on first floor Main St. Los Gatos, among other cities, has done this and it works.

The rent that Semmelmeyer charges is high to begin with and he also takes a cut of the gross sales every month. The last time I knew the details (directly from one of his current tenants) the store was required to pay 10% of the gross monthly sales and if that number did not meet or exceed $3,500 ($35,000 per month in sales) the tenant would be considered in violation of the lease and could be forced out. Greed, plain and simple. So what kind of tenant can pay that much? Presumably a restaurant, though maybe not Mangia Mi. Also a real estate office and boy do we need more of those on Main St.

Semmelmeyer has no legal obligation to lower his fees but any tenant with half a brain needs to think a long time about whether it is a sustainable business plan to sign that lease. As for Pamela Ott implying that it is a good thing for businesses to fail and new ones to move in -- perhaps she has outlived her usefulness to the downtown business sector.

Posted by Downtown
a resident of Downtown
on Dec 15, 2015 at 3:12 pm

I really hope we can get a spot that has healthy, quick food - a simple sandwich, soup and salad place. The Press Cafe is always packed - there are no great sandwich and soup spots downtown. I still can't believe a coffee shop is going in to that large space where Round Table Pizza was. Seems like such a waste.

Posted by Mike
a resident of Castlewood Heights
on Dec 15, 2015 at 4:00 pm

Agree. Pam Ott has to go. That was a horrible comment. To have a vibrant downtown you need people to go out of business? How did she get this job? Oh that's right, her husband. (resident of over 40 yrs here)

Tara's doesn't surprise me. It wasn't very good and you knew it wasn't going to make it. Tully's did file for chapter 11 in 2013. Some stores closed back then. Patrick Dempsey was going to help keep it alive, but didn't in the end. So they have been going through a bankruptcy sale.

If the greedy landlord would work with businesses, maybe another coffee shop can go there. But when you are asking as much as he is (yes I have talked to business owners too on what they pay) it just isn't going to happen.

Some in Pleasanton think we have such nice downtown. And it is. It just isn't diverse enough to offer anything that the people of Pleasanton would go to on a day-to-day basis. Livermore did it right. No doubt. They listened to their residents. It is always busy down there.

So we circle back to people like Mrs. Ott. Until leadership is changed and the landlords realize that an empty store equals $0 a month, enjoy our "downtown".

It's just a location. Not a destination.

Posted by Robert
a resident of Ruby Hill
on Dec 15, 2015 at 4:10 pm

@Mike: your comment about Tara's is so not based off of any facts. Their Berkeley and Oakland locations are doing great! The Pleasanton location was very popular. They're delicious and definitely know what they're doing. My family and I went there every weekend and always got excellent ice cream and service. You must like Cold Stone or one of those artificial ice cream joints. Tara's is so creative and consistent with their flavors. I'm so sad to see them go! They were exactly what Pleasanton needed. Pleasanton needs more small businesses rather than a bunch more corporate trash. I have also heard from many tenants that this landlord is really difficult and hits the tenants with unreasonable charges. If Tara's, Tully's, and Mangia Mi had a different landlord then they WOULD still be in business. Luckily I can still visit Tara's at their other locations but not everyone is that fortunate.

Posted by Lisa
a resident of Amador Estates
on Dec 15, 2015 at 4:23 pm

Wooow, I know that guy's name! The landlord Craig Semmelmeyer was recently fired from a big project for redevelopment in Lafayette where his office was. He got evicted from his office and was sued by the property owner for fraud charges/activity. I bet he's over charging those businesses! He's definitely greedy and it is not normal to add fees to the rent. Something is really fishy here.

Posted by Jim van dyke
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Dec 15, 2015 at 4:23 pm

I've said it before and I'll say it again: calling hardworking people out by name while not leaving your own is cowardice (attention 'Mike'). Pam Ott is an asset to the city, as is her husband Jim.

Posted by Goodforu
a resident of Castlewood
on Dec 15, 2015 at 5:00 pm

I hope they put in a gay bar.Downtown Pleasanton has no LGBTQ diversity and this could really help.

Posted by Damon
a resident of Foothill Knolls
on Dec 15, 2015 at 5:13 pm

I agree with Robert. Tara's Ice Cream was good, and by the 4.5 out of 5.0 rating that it earned on Yelp apparently a lot of other people agreed. Sure, it may have been a bit pricey (and you can thank Semmelmeyer's high rent and 10% cut of sales for some of that), but there is no denying that it was high quality ice cream.

Looks like I'll have to wait until my next trip out to Berkeley before I can try their ice cream again.

Posted by Michael Austin
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Dec 15, 2015 at 6:08 pm

Michael Austin is a registered user.

I tend to agree with Jim van dyke, in that the "calling people out by name while not leaving your own is cowardice".

Anonymous posters are the degradation of this forum.

Posted by Dan
a resident of Bridle Creek
on Dec 15, 2015 at 6:16 pm

How about some doughnut shops and those food trucks?

Posted by Dawn D
a resident of Downtown
on Dec 15, 2015 at 6:21 pm

Maybe Pleasanton should implement rent control on Mr. Craig Semmelmeyer? He shouldn't be able to raise rents with no regulation. When he raises the rent, we, the residents of Pleasanton end up paying for it. He ran Cold Stone off because of too many children hanging around. He didn't even try to negotiate with that gentleman. I've heard Hi Tech keeps paying but it will probably give in eventually. Fontina thinks he's great because they want to expand. Tully's is more than just a coffee shop. It's a Pleasanton tradition for a lot of people. Very Sad.

Posted by Sue
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 15, 2015 at 6:52 pm

We will just end up with another bank or real estate office and pretty soon no one will venture downtown. The downtown association needs to work with the property owners and stop this slide.
Our wonderful downtown is becoming a joke

Posted by downtown shopper
a resident of Downtown
on Dec 15, 2015 at 7:23 pm

@DawnD -- " He shouldn't be able to raise rents with no regulation.'

Actually, yes, he can raise the rents as high as he wants and as often as he wants. That's what happens when you own the property -- you make the decisions. Does that make him a nice person or an evil landlord? You decide.

I do agree that the PDA needs to work with landlords downtown to get a better mix of retail or downtown Pleasanton will cease to exist for anything other than banks, real estate and nail salons.

Posted by Registered Joe
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 15, 2015 at 10:14 pm

Neither Pam Ott, nor her husband, nor anybody else in city government has or had anything to do with Tully's closing. In fact, that's the way it should be. It's either private enterprise or it isn't.

If it's private then the cost of rents will find a norm. Tully's is in the primo location downtown, in Pleasanton, and let's face it, we're an affluent community. I don't know the economics of selling coffee, but apparently the profit margin isn't enough to cover the rent at this location.

Did Main Street Property make a mistake by ending Tully's lease with the plans of doing better with another client? Perhaps. It's their business. Perhaps I'll visit the new tenant; perhaps not.

Posted by Bill
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Dec 15, 2015 at 10:34 pm

If the opportunity presents itself, I'll enjoy making this landlords life hell.

Posted by Wade
a resident of Val Vista
on Dec 15, 2015 at 10:34 pm

Regarding Goodforu's comment,
"I hope they put in a gay bar.Downtown Pleasanton has no LGBTQ diversity and this could really help."
What a novel idea!It may liven up this stodgy place.
To this 16 year resident raising two kids here, downtown is getting more disappointing by the year.
Viva Livermore!

Posted by Previous employee
a resident of Danville
on Dec 15, 2015 at 10:47 pm

Craig Semmelmeyer is an absolute jerk. No respect for that guy or any of the 'work' that he does. Rude, greedy, nasty, and inconsiderate. Good luck to the next tenants. He didn't like some of the customers that sat outside at Tully's. Not sure how a Peets being there is gonna be any different. So stupid. Also, the motorcycle guys are some of the sweetest people... Don't judge a book by its cover!

Posted by unclehomerr..
a resident of Downtown
on Dec 15, 2015 at 11:04 pm

That would be a great location for a pool hall/bar. Maybe that would draw more folks downtown..

Posted by Boycott bad landlords
a resident of Amador Estates
on Dec 16, 2015 at 2:33 am

Craig Semmelmeyer also ran out Cold Stone Creamery before Tara's. Now Tullys. Can someone post all of his properties/businesses so that I can make sure I do not shop at any building owned by Semmelmeyer in Pleasanton? Thanks.

Posted by Tom n
a resident of Harvest Park Middle School
on Dec 16, 2015 at 3:27 am

Time for Hooters

Posted by Ordinary Joe
a resident of Amador Estates
on Dec 16, 2015 at 7:31 am

Since this town (and the Pleasanton Weekly) loves Democrats and big government, I suggest this site be another DMV branch, an unemployment office or an Obamacare office and get Cheryl Cook-Kallio to manage it.

Posted by I Live Herr
a resident of Bridle Creek
on Dec 16, 2015 at 8:46 am

Lanvie is also closing. Curious if Semmelmeyer was their landlord as well.

Posted by Paul M
a resident of Canyon Oaks
on Dec 16, 2015 at 9:22 am

Hopefully a new Starbucks in its place. The closest one is a whole 2 blocks away!

Posted by downtown shopper
a resident of Downtown
on Dec 16, 2015 at 9:25 am

Is Lanvie in the building near the pottery painting place? If so, semmelmeyer is the landlord. He also forced out Pans on Fire from that location previously.

Posted by Shopper too
a resident of Bridle Creek
on Dec 16, 2015 at 10:00 am

Yes, Lanvie is between Bollinger nail salon and Color Me Mine.

Posted by Anna
a resident of Happy Valley
on Dec 16, 2015 at 10:09 am

I was surprised that nobody mentioned the new Starbucks opening up so nearby. That may very well be the final straw that broke Tully's.

Posted by Downtown shopper
a resident of Downtown
on Dec 16, 2015 at 10:12 am

I never had a problem with the bikers as long as they stopped smoking out front. The spandex cyclists were always totally obnoxious but the worst are the doggie people. No I don't think your little pocket pooper is the cutest thing going as he yaps his fool head off.

Posted by Susan
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Dec 16, 2015 at 10:33 am

The comment: "Closures of longtime businesses have a silver lining in that it opens the door for new businesses to put their mark on Pleasanton."

Long-time businesses - let's talk about Dean's Cafe. Talk about a business which is just plain tired. Pleather booths, paneling on the walls and that old tired carpet.
The menu is outdated and old.

I would go there if they just updated to the 21st century.

Posted by Regina
a resident of Downtown
on Dec 16, 2015 at 11:15 am

If the Downtown Association thinks that Semmelmeyer is a good landlord, why it is that they moved out of the 2nd floor above Tully's? You would think they would be a fantastic tenant. Our business is celebrating almost 15 years in Downtown Pleasanton. When we first opened we did inquire to leasing one of Semmelmeyer's properties. We were immediately denied and we crushed. Let me tell you it was the biggest favor and blessing! There are amazing landlords on Main Street that will take care of their tenants.

Hopefully new tenants will do their homework and see how Main St Properties has put many small businesses out of business. Google his name and look how he was sued by the City of Hercules and raised the rent on Petar's in Lafayette that forced them to close their doors.

I'm sure Pamela Ott is trying to put a positive spin on the businesses closing - but it's a slap in the face to those that have worked so hard to make their businesses thrive. I'm sure she's not going to be saying "closures of longtime businesses have a silver lining in that it opens the door for new businesses to put their mark on Pleasanton" as the city of Pleasanton celebrates businesses that reached the 15 year + mark?Web Link

Posted by PtownHappyDad
a resident of Del Prado
on Dec 16, 2015 at 11:54 am

Here's the bottom line - Since 2000, downtown Pleasanton has lost significant 'charm' ground to Livermore's revamped downtown. They've slowly done a great job over there. As Pleasanton residents, we've enjoyed dinner/drinks more often in Livermore over the last few years than our own Main St. area, which is just 5 minutes away!

Seems the Pleasanton Downtown Association has lost focus over the last few years. Think it was Semmelmeyer that chased Cold Stone away too; a fun place that had a line out the door most evenings. Now Tully's has been run off too and will probably be replaced with an upscale Yarn store.

Very sad downtown Pleasanton, very sad indeed. Meanwhile, we're meeting friends at First Street Ale House in Livermore this Friday! Extra 10 minute drive, no problem!

Posted by Map
a resident of Del Prado
on Dec 16, 2015 at 1:07 pm

Maybe "C.S." Should buy that round table property, fence off the parking lot, put up gun towers on each corner, and rent out the building to the highest bidder whether it's a coffee shop an ice cream parlor or maybe a massage parlor.

Posted by Ennis
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Dec 16, 2015 at 4:03 pm

We spent a weekend down in SLO -population, including students is approx. 70K. Their downtown area is vibrant in terms of the composition of businesses, had incredible foot traffic all weekend long, was clearly a destination location, and is an example of what Pleasanton could be (and Livermore is a much closer approximation of SLO.) That said, our downtown suffers from some difficult to solve issues -parking, existing mix with longer term leases (i.e. too many banks), an unwillingness to allow bigger name draws (who would be willing to work in a smaller footprint and who could afford the rent), and physical retail spaces that are a.) poorly configured and sized and b.) in some cases require a huge amount of $ to bring up to current code (Kollin Hardware was a great example-the building was unstable and cost 2x to bring up to code) which equals high rents-all dis-incentives for opening a business. Regarding Landlords, the % of sales clause won't work with small businesses -they don't have the margin room in their products and it's a profitability drain. The unfortunate truth is while our downtown does have some neat businesses and a few so-so restaurants, there are too many constraints, too many independent stakeholders (landlords) all of whom have a their own business models to consider, lack of space for adequate parking, and no clear strategy in terms of what the downtown should look like. This all equals people going to Livermore, Stoneridge, or anyone of a number of other places to spend their money.

Posted by Ennis
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Dec 16, 2015 at 4:05 pm

Meant to say 2x of the initial $1M estimate to bring up to code

Posted by PJ
a resident of Gatewood
on Dec 16, 2015 at 4:07 pm

Pleasanton downtown is the new Dublin. I could have never imagined getting beat by Livermore in the charm and entertainment department but it looks like the war is over and we lost.

Posted by Bill
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Dec 16, 2015 at 4:39 pm

From the perspective of a landlord, percentage rent is a hedge against inflation and way to share in the long-term prosperity of a successful tenant. From the perspective of the tenant, percentage rent is a way to reduce costs during rough economic times. Except in downtown Pleasanton when there is a rough time by the tenant, it appears that they are just asked to leave. When gross percentage rent is used in this manner, isn't the landlord basically a pimp?

Posted by Get the Facts
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 16, 2015 at 5:20 pm

Get the Facts is a registered user.

I feel a landlord has two choices: either take a flat rent (and charge whatever you choose), OR, take a percentage of profit, and therefore be invested in the success of the tenant. Doing both, in my opinion, is absolutely wrong.

I am not a small business owner, but as a prospective tenant I can tell you I would never accept a lease with a landlord who is trying to do both.

I am not a landlord, but I can tell you I would want low vacancy rates, and work with my tenants to keep them in business, while trying to achieve a healthy profit for myself.

Posted by Jeannie
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 16, 2015 at 6:44 pm

I read a lot of cyber-bullying here against the building owner. I would think rents would be higher for a newer building because it costs money to build it from the ground up. This is not relevant however. If a business can not compete because they don't have enough business or the rent is too high, then relocate, improve, or go out of business.
Tara's is Berkeley and Oakland clientele flavors. Tully's is losing business to Peets and Starbucks and is closing stores in California. I'll miss the High Tech Burrito but hope they will relocate in Pleasanton instead of Livermore or Dublin. Our downtown has gotten too boring and we prefer Livermore because it is friendly and relaxed.

Posted by Karen
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 16, 2015 at 7:50 pm

I heard that a Peet's was going in Tully's location and maybe expand the location along with Fontina's expanding?????
Just a rumor??????

Posted by Chrayal
a resident of Castlewood
on Dec 16, 2015 at 9:02 pm

starbucks had nothing to do with Tullys. Starbucks sucks still.

what the hell is happening with Blue Line pizza that is supposed to go in were Joy was?

Livermore downtown does look beter every day. No Starbucks

Posted by Me Too
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 16, 2015 at 10:03 pm

I, for one, am hoping for a bank to replace Tully's

I'm sure there will be a large group protesting whatever business wants to go there. God forbid we have profitable businesses in our community.

Posted by Claudette McDermott
a resident of Del Prado
on Dec 17, 2015 at 8:53 am

Claudette McDermott is a registered user.

Very sorry to see Tully's and the Building Owner weren't able to come some kind of terms… It is a staple for many of us gathering for years and will be missed. I want to thank all of the staff management over the years for being kind and generous with the Artists that gather there too, especially allowing me to share my Art Work on their walls. Mahalo and Aloha ~ You will be missed.

Posted by Pepper
a resident of Old Towne
on Dec 17, 2015 at 10:34 am

Pepper is a registered user.

I just have to coment on "Goodforu's" post, we already have bars for gays. What we don't have is a bar for gays only, because that would be discrimination, wouldn't it.

Posted by Commentor
a resident of Pheasant Ridge
on Dec 17, 2015 at 4:13 pm

Commentor is a registered user.

Just came from High Tech Burrito and they assured us they are not closing. Thank goodness! Via la shrimp taco!

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