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British Columbia Franchisees claim Jugo Juice rep misrepresented cost of running Canada Line stores

There are 15 retailers operating inside TransLink stations.

John Lehmann/The Globe and Mail

Canada Line officials are wary about disclosing exactly how retail works in the transit line, but a recently filed lawsuit provides some sense of costs.

Three Jugo Juice franchisees, alleging a representative of the Ontario-based smoothie maker misrepresented the case for opening a pair of outlets on the line, say they were advised the cost of setting up two Jugo franchises on the Canada Line was between $204,000 and $316,000. That includes construction and equipment costs.

Angela Zhu, De Hong Zhu and Xiao Yan Guan allege that in 2009, they sought information about operating Vancouver franchises and Jugo Juice representative Jerry Bleet offered the opportunity to operate two Jugo franchises in the line at King Edward and Oakridge stations.

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The trio allege Mr. Bleet told them, among other things, that the company had concluded Jugo franchises would be a "viable business," riders would be allowed to consume beverages while travelling, there would be no competition, and Jugo franchises would be outside the fare-paid zone. They also say they were told their employees would be permitted to travel free of charge between the two Jugo franchises they were planning to open, and that the whole enterprise would generate a 30-per-cent profit.

However, they say most of the claims were untrue. They spent more than forecast to operate the businesses – though the lawsuit doesn't provide a specific figure – and suffered lower-than-forecast sales. The two franchises were out of business in March, 2013.

The allegations have yet to be proved in court.

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