WEB EXTRA: Potbelly to replace Coggins

Potbelly Sandwich Works is coming to GW, ending a nearly 17-month legal fight with Coggins Sandwich Manufactory.

Director of Media Relations Tracy Schario said Coggins officially closed Wednesday. Potbelly, a competing sandwich shop, will open in the space on June 5.

The future of Coggins was uncertain after it was sued by Illinois-based Potbelly. Potbelly sued Coggins for alleged similarities between the two sandwich shops.

John Rawls, a lawyer who helped represent Potbelly in the lawsuit against Coggins, said a settlement was reached Tuesday.

While Rawls said details of the settlement are confidential, he said two of the general provisions call for Coggins not to open any more stores infringing Potbelly trademark and for Coggins to evacuate the Ivory Tower location in order for Potbelly to move in.

“Early on in the case we expected it to go to trial,” Rawls said. “Both sides preferred to resolve the matter out of court and we were able to come to an agreement.”

Coggins is owned by Farro Enterprises, which also owns about 30 chain restaurants such as T.G.I. Friday’s and Baja Fresh. Coggins had one other location in Fairfax, Va., which recently closed. With the closing of the Coggins location in Ivory Tower, no more Coggins restaurants exist.

Potbelly is a national corporation headquartered in Chicago with about 70 locations around the country including 17 locations in D.C., Maryland and Virginia, according to its Web site.

“In all negotiations there are some easy parts and some hard parts,” Rawls said. “But overall both sides acted in an extremely professional manner throughout the case.”

John Climaco, a lawyer representing Coggins, said Thursday that he had no comment on the settlement.

Potbelly signed a lease with the University to occupy the Ivory Tower location, said Director of Media Relations Tracy Schario.

“The University was not involved in the negotiations and I do not know the terms of the settlement,” Schario said.

She said the lease with Potbelly was finalized this week.

“From a service perspective, students should be pleased,” she said.

Abdul Cisse, a store manager at Coggins, said Monday that the store had been operating on a “day-to-day schedule” since last week.

Check back on www.gwhatchet.com for updates.

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