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Peet’s Coffee hires lobby firm Heather Podesta + Partners

Peet’s Coffee & Tea, the Emeryville, Calif.-based speciality coffee and tea chain, has hired lobby firm Heather Podesta + Partners to advise the company as it prepares to convert about 20 Washington-area Caribou Coffee stores and reopen them under the Peet’s name.

It is the first time Peet’s has hired Washington lobbyists, according to Senate records. Peet’s owner, German holding company Joh. A. Benckiser, acquired Caribou in 2013 and said it would close 80 Caribou locations nationwide and rebrand 88 stores as Peet’s.

In the Washington region, there are three Caribou locations that will close and not be converted to Peet’s — those are in Rockville, Fair Oaks, and Gambrills. Peet’s is also looking to open a few locations in the area that are not former Caribou stores, and plans to share details once those locations are confirmed, a company spokeswoman said.

The lobbying registration filed with the Senate this month provides a generic description of the lobbying the firm plans to do for Peet’s and does not mention any specific legislation or policy issues, saying only that they would “educate policymakers regarding the coffee industry.” Podesta and Peet’s chief executive Dave Burwick were not immediately available for comment Friday.

“The firm will introduce the company to policymakers, and represent Peet’s on a variety of topics related to the coffee industry,” the lobby firm said in a statement. “Also, they will advise the company on its upcoming Washington, D.C. market launch.”

In the statement, Podesta said she had her first cup of Peet’s coffee in the late 1980s when she was a student at UC Berkeley.

“Nothing compares,” she said. “Whether it is their coffee or tea, to drink it, is to love it. We are delighted to represent Peet’s and tell its story to Congress and other opinion leaders.”

Burwick said in a statement that the company is “pleased to have Heather Podesta and her team introduce Peet’s to policymakers and represent us on a variety of topics related to the coffee industry.”

Working on the matter will be Podesta and Mary Stanton, who have lobbied for companies including Toyota, Eli Lilly and Home Depot.

Catherine Ho covers lobbying at The Washington Post. She previously worked at the LA Daily Journal, the Los Angeles Times, the Detroit Free Press, the Wichita Eagle and the San Mateo County Times.



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