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Caribou brews a small pot of profit in first quarter

Caribou Coffee brewed a small pot of profits in the first quarter, thanks largely to the growth of sales in non-coffeeshop settings such as grocery stores.

Caribou Coffee anounced this afternoon that it brewed a profit in the first quarter — although the company’s baristas probably took home more from their tip jars than investors will see.

The coffee chain reported net income of $300,000, or about 2 pennies per share. It’s the second quarter in a row that the struggling Brooklyn Park Center coffee brewer has turned a profit.

“[A]lthough we are operating in a challenging economic environment, we are continuing to see progress,” CEO Michael Tattersfield said in the company’s statement.

The drip of losses started in 2003, and the company hasn’t has a profitable year since then. But the recent financial results have the company sounding optimistic that its new strategy is working.

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The company has closed many of its company-owned coffee shops and is instead letting franchisers take the lead on opening new ones. It’s also putting more emphasis on selling its coffee in grocery stores and other non-coffeehouse settings.