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Thursday, June 13th, 2013

Donuts in the desert. Tim Horton’s does Dubai.

It’s one of the most famous names in all of Canada – Tim Horton’s. But the one-time donut and coffee shop tiny start-up, which became a Canadian stock exchange corporate powerhouse, is now reaching out across the globe. But don’t expect consumers around the world to know it’s “Made in Canada”.

“Timmy’s”, as adoring Canadians call it, had balked for years at expansion outside Canada. There was a small but unsuccessful foray into America, and a shop in Kandahar to serve Canadian troops in Afghanistan. But today, there are twenty Tim Horton’s in the United Arab Emirates with more coming. Plans call for more than two hundred stores in the Arabian gulf and Saudi Arabia. Timmy’s is going global.

So how do you sell Canadian coffee and donuts overseas ? First of all, don’t call it Canadian. Inside Tim Horton’s stores in Dubai there are large murals of the stereo-typical south American coffee-picking hombre. There’s not a single word about Canada, nor a maple leaf anywhere in sight.

Canadians take heart. It’s still the same coffee and donuts, and even if it doesn’t say “home”, it still tastes like it.


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