Make us your home page

Winter Park-based coffee house seeks a comeback

Barnie’s incoming chairman Jim Pugh, left, stands in front of a Winter Park store with founder and incoming CEO Phil Jones.

Special to the Times

Barnie’s incoming chairman Jim Pugh, left, stands in front of a Winter Park store with founder and incoming CEO Phil Jones.

One of the pioneers of Americans' switch to gourmet coffee, Barnie is back at the helm of Barnie's Coffee & Tea with big expansion plans for the Tampa Bay market.

"Barnie" Phil Jones learned his way around a roaster as a divinity student in 1960s' San Francisco. Now he sees job No. 1 as rebuilding the retail side of the Winter Park company he founded in 1980 that once was in 110 regional malls.

On Friday, Jones acquired Barnie's for an undisclosed price in an equal partnership with Jim Pugh, an Orlando-based apartment building developer.

Barnie's sells its beans and ground coffees at Publix supermarkets, Sweetbay Supermarket, through an office coffee service and 40 franchised stores. Except for seven company stores, the last 56 mall stores were sold to Starbucks.

Within five years, Jones, 60, hopes to double sales to about $50-million and have a chain with 100 stores.

"Tampa Bay and Orlando will be ground zero," he said.

Jones sold to Sara Lee Corp. in 1998 as Starbucks marched across Florida.

He steps back in at a treacherous time. Starbucks is reeling from a down economy that prompted many fans to trade down to less pricey drinks or brew their coffee fix at home. McDonald's, Dunkin Donuts and many convenience stores have heated up the competition with better quality joe.

"While Starbucks fights McDonald's and Dunkin' Donuts with little coffee bars, we'll have larger stores stocked more like Dean & DeLuca," said Jones.

That means a wider selection of coffees, teas, iced drinks and fresh baked breakfast goods plus packaged gourmet shortbreads, jams, cookies and gifts like those at Harry & David.

The revival of Barnie's stores in the Tampa Bay area got some help from Rick Coia, an aggressive franchisee. Since December, he has opened operations in Lutz and Countryside and plans more in Trinity, Oldsmar and Clearwater Beach. He put a kiosk in Tyrone Square Mall and plans stores with drive-through windows at gas stations.

Mark Albright can be reached at or (727) 893-8252.


Where he's been

"Barnie" Phil Jones, who served 10 years as a Presbyterian minister before venturing into the coffee business at 32, has been in Colorado for the past decade, where he developed a residential community.

"Developers can be reviled there, but I got it done," he said. "And I really missed the coffee business and Florida."

Winter Park-based coffee house seeks a comeback 03/07/08 [Last modified: Friday, March 14, 2008 5:47pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Pinellas licensing board asks Sen. Jack Latvala for $500,000 loan

    Local Government

    The troubled Pinellas County agency that regulates contractors wants Sen. Jack Latvala to help it get a $500,000 lifeline from the state to stay afloat.

    State Sen . Jack Latvala, R- Clearwater, is being asked to help the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board get $500,000 from the state so it can stay open beyond February.  [SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]
  2. In advertising, marketing diversity needs a boost in Tampa Bay, nationally


    TAMPA — Trimeka Benjamin was focused on a career in broadcast journalism when she entered Bethune-Cookman University.

    From left, Swim Digital marketing owner Trimeka Benjamin discusses the broad lack of diversity in advertising and marketing with 22 Squared copywriter Luke Sokolewicz, University of Tampa advertising/PR professor Jennifer Whelihan, Rumbo creative director George Zwierko and Nancy Vaughn of the White Book Agency. The group recently met at The Bunker in Ybor City.
  3. Tampa Club president seeks assessment fee from members


    TAMPA — The president of the Tampa Club said he asked members last month to pay an additional assessment fee to provide "additional revenue." However, Ron Licata said Friday that the downtown business group is not in a dire financial situation.

    Ron Licata, president of the Tampa Club in downtown Tampa. [Tampa Club]
  4. Under Republican health care bill, Florida must make up $7.5 billion


    If a Senate bill called the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017 becomes law, Florida's government would need to make up about $7.5 billion to maintain its current health care system. The bill, which is one of the Republican Party's long-promised answers to the Affordable Care Act imposes a cap on funding per enrollee …

    Florida would need to cover $7.5 billion to keep its health care program under the Republican-proposed Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017.  [Times file photo]
  5. Amid U.S. real estate buying binge by foreign investors, Florida remains first choice

    Real Estate

    Foreign investment in U.S. residential real estate recently skyrocketed to a new high with nearly half of all foreign sales happening in Florida, California and Texas.

    A National Association of Realtors annual survey found record volume and activity by foreign buyers of U.S. real estate. Florida had the highest foreign investment activity, followed by California and Texas. [National Association of Realtors]