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Founders of Earls, Joey Restaurants acquire ownership of Cactus Club Cafe

The Fuller family were early investors in the Cactus Club chain

Cactus Club, Earls and Joey Restaurants all have something in common beyond their similar themes and food offerings — they are now all owned by the Fuller family.

After a hard-fought legal battle, the Fuller family announced it acquired 100 per cent ownership over Cactus Club from founder and president Richard Jaffray.

Leroy Earl “Bus” Fuller is the founder of Earls and Joey restaurants. He was also an early investor in Cactus Club, which was founded by Jaffray and Scott Morison in 1988. Jaffray and Morison are both former Earls employees. Morison left the company in 2004 and with Jaffray selling his ownership stake to the Fullers, he will step down as president in March.

“We have enormous respect for what Richard has built. Under his leadership, Richard and the Cactus team have established and grown an outstanding restaurant brand and concept, developing deep and lasting customer relationships in the process. Our family has been a partner in Cactus Club since the very beginning, and we are thrilled to be assuming 100 per cent ownership of the brand,” the Fullers said in a news release.

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Jaffray and the Fullers have been embroiled in a legal spat since 2018 when Jaffray alleged a transfer of Cactus Club shares was done without giving him proper notice. The Fullers denied that transfer took place.

Jaffray also took issue with the operation of Joey Restaurants. Joey operated as a direct competitor to Cactus Club and Jaffray wanted to stop providing audited financial statements to the Fullers, arguing that it gave Joey a competitive advantage. Ultimately, the case was dismissed.

Then the family struck back, alleging that Jaffray misappropriated company funds by expensing trips on private jets and art for his home.

With Wednesday’s announcement, it seems the parties are putting the bad blood behind them.

“I am incredibly proud of the team that built Cactus Club into Canada’s leading casual fine dining brand. There is no finer team to be found anywhere, and I know they will carry the Cactus Club brand on to continued success in the future,” Jaffray said.

The Fullers said they value the relationship they’ve had with Jaffray and wish him “nothing but the best” for the future.


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