Officials Reluctant To Speak On Reports Of Capitol Coffee Shop - WLNS TV 6 Lansing - Jackson | Your Local News Leader

Officials Reluctant To Speak On Reports Of Coffee Shop Going Into Capitol

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LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) - State officials were reluctant to comment on reports regarding Tim Hortons products going into Michigan's Capitol building. 

The Director of Services to the Blind was unavailable for comment on this story, as a cone of silence descended. An employee of the Michigan House and a state licensing department official declined to talk, too, as they walked into a 2:30 strategy meeting on this issue Thursday.

There was one state official who did talk, but not on camera. He points out, Tim Hortons products would go into a room on the ground floor of the Capitol, but the Tim Hortons sign would not. Tim Hortons employees would not be running the operation, but they would provide training to the visually impaired who would.

However, the Tim Hortons sign and products could end up in the House office building, right across the street from coffee shop competitor Biggby.

Bob Fish runs the Biggby franchises in the area and was not asked to bid on the project. He is worried that franchisees may have their tax dollars subsidizing Tim Hortons.

"I don't think its a matter of signage or not signage," said Fish. "All of our Biggby coffees are taxpayers. It would feel a little awkward to us that we are paying our taxes and maybe that project is being subsidized somehow with our dollars. That sounds weird to me."

As the licensing department director, Steve Arwood, came to the meeting, he was not very forthcoming on what exactly was unfolding as he walked past our camera.

(Reporter) Mr. Director, would you help clarify what you are trying to do. 

"Discussions are underway and no decision has been made," said Arwood.

(Reporter) Do you want to put a franchise in there?

"Discussions are underway," replied Arwood.

(Reporter) Is the state going to pay a franchise fee? 

"No decisions have been made, Tim," said Arwood.

Fish contends that if the state does not pay a franchise fee, he has "a problem with that... it's unfair." We don't know if its unfair, because nobody was talking about it.  

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