Just days after he acquired Tully's Coffee, Grey's Anatomy actor Patrick Dempsey was already fielding customer service requests. "I walked into a store, and a woman came up to me who wasn't very happy, because there was no fresh lemon," he says, laughing.
Tully's, a 21-year-old Seattle-based coffee chain, filed for bankruptcy in October and was put up for auction. When Dempsey heard potential bidders might close some of Tully's 47 stores and cut jobs, he jumped to keep the brand alive. The actor's $9.2 million bid for the company was accepted in January.
Once he irons out Tully's finances, Dempsey wants to give the stores a face-lift and possibly pursue B Corporation status, a certification for companies with a social mission. "We need to think about recycling, fair trade, and giving back to the community," he says. Though Dempsey is optimistic about the future of Tully's, he admits he's a bit anxious. "My lack of knowledge scares me most," he says, "but I think in life, you are always beginning."