OBIT: Scarborough founder of Coffee Time Tom Michalopoulos embodied philanthropy
Scarborough businessman and philanthropist Anastasios (Tom) Michalopoulos, the founder of Coffee Time and president of Chairman’s Brands, has died.
If you talk to his friends, they don’t remember him for his successful business ventures. They know Michalopoulos for his generosity and his love of people.
“He was a social butterfly. He loved people. He was so generous,” said long-time friend Stanley A. Papulkas.
“To a fault sometimes, he was very generous. He’d always try to find a way to get you a store, whatever it was. He wanted people to do well.”
It was that generosity that led Michalopoulos to founding Coffee Time in the first place. Michalopoulos was already well established as a real estate agent (a business he never left) and known for his willingness to help others financially.
One of his clients approached Michalopoulos to see if he would help his struggling coffee shop business in Bolton, then called Bentley’s Fine Donuts. Michalopoulos and the other man, Young Chang, partnered and renamed the shop Coffee Time in 1982, a name they came up with while waiting in line to register the business, Papulkas said.
Chang eventually left the business but Michalopoulos kept with it and franchised it and the company grew to having hundreds of stores across Canada, as well as in Greece, Qatar and Kandahar. Chairman’s also owns 241 Pizza, Eggsmart, New Orleans Pizza, The Friendly Greek and more.
That generosity is likely as a result of Michalopoulos’s poor upbringing, Papulkas said. Michalopoulos came from a poor family in Greece and immigrated here and worked hard to support his family. He rarely said no to people, Papulkas said.