San Diego

Franchisees File Claim Against Donut Bar After Abrupt Closures

Donut Bar Eastlake opened in June to much success but closed its doors for good on Nov. 4

One week after the Donut Bar franchise in Chula Vista abruptly closed its doors, the franchisee, joined by two other franchise owners, filed a claim against the Donut Bar brand, saying they were misled about operating costs.

Franchise attorney David Levaton represented the owners of three Donut Bar locations in Chula Vista, Oceanside, and Scottsdale, Arizona.

Elizabeth Slaven and Thierry Dewaghe ran the Chula Vista franchise, which shuttered on Nov. 4. The Scottsdale franchise also recently closed, and the franchise in Oceanside never opened.

Levaton claimed the Donut Bar did not disclose certain information about bankruptcies and litigation against the company, and gave franchisees like Slaven and Dewaghe misleading information about start-up business costs.

Levaton filed three separate claims against the Donut Bar. Mediation will begin for one of the claims on Thursday, while the arbitration process is just beginning for the other two cases.

When the Chula Vista Donut Bar closed, Slaven and Dewaghe posted a notice on the entrance door that read, in part:

“Although our goal was to continue to serve you for the next 10 years, we have found that we were not able to do so under the Donut Bar brand. Finding an honest and supportive brand that aligns more with our mission to be successful and serve our community is essential to us.”

On the night of Nov. 4, Donut Bar founder Santiago Campa told NBC 7 via email that is was "beyond regrettable that Donut Bar Eastlake has closed without notice."

Campa said he knows how much Chula Vista loves the Donut Bar and how disappointing its closure was for the community.

"Donut Bar opened in Eastlake by popular demand and has enjoyed overwhelming success, support and praise," Campa said via email.

The Chula Vista location along Eastlake Parkway in the Village Walk shopping center had only been open since July. When it debuted, locals lined up for hours just to get their hands on the sugary treats.

The Donut Bar, which opened its original location in downtown San Diego in March 2013, is known for its oversized sweet and savory gourmet confections, including its Maple Bacon, French Toast, Salted Caramel and Pizza Waffle donuts.

The brand’s downtown location is known for its long lines and typically sells out of donuts within a few hours on the weekends.

After much success and accolades downtown, Campa opened a second San Diego location inside Terminal 2 at the San Diego International Airport. There’s also a Donut Bar in Temecula and in the heart of downtown Las Vegas.

Donut Bar opened a new location in Pacific Beach on Nov. 10, and has more new shops in the pipeline in downtown Riverside and Tuscon, Arizona.

After the Chula Vista shop shuttered, Campa told NBC 7 he had reached out to the operators of that location and "extended job placement for their current employees."

NBC 7 reached out to Campa following the announcement of the legal claims this week, but he was unavailable for comment.

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