Customers puzzled by Starbucks' locations

July 16, 2008 4:38:12 PM PDT
Starbucks' decision to close its only cafe in one town, but build a second one- directly across the street from the first- in another has left some customers puzzled. Two suburban Starbucks locations are part of the first 50 cafes the company plans to close in a restructuring effort. However, some customers are wondering why the company would close a cafe in Country Club Hills only to open a second one- directly across the street from the first- in Tinley Park.

"I am a Starbucks lover," said Jerra January, whose favorite café will soon close. "My husband calls me a 'Buckhead.'"

The Starbucks on West 167th Street in Country Club Hills was opened only 14 months ago. Since then, January has been a regular. The Hazelcrest resident is disappointed because this location was so convenient for getting an on-the-way-to-work caffeine fix.

"The highway is right there so it's very, very convenient. And they're open early in the morning, so that helps out a lot," said January.

January's café is the only Country Club Hills store. It's slated to close- along with 50 other cafes- as part of a corporate restructuring plan. A company spokesman told ABC7 80-percent of the locations that will close are new stores opened since 2006.

While January is drinking her last drop of convenient coffee from Starbucks, Trina Davis is feeling pretty perky. She normally gets her coffee at the Starbucks on 159th and Harlem in Tinley Park. But, if that's too busy, she can cross the street and go to a second Starbucks that opened two weeks ago.

"This one's going to have a drive-thru. That's the difference," said Davis.

On its website, Starbucks writes that the opening and closing of stores is "dependent on several operational and contractual factors and events."

One Tinley Park customer, Jeri Moore, said there's plenty of business for two stores in Tinley Park.

"I don't know about the corporate stuff or why they did that, but I would assume it would work," said Moore.

But the decision to close Country Club Hills, a predominately African-American suburb, but open another store in Tinley Park, puzzles Bridge Harris.

"A lot of African Americans are buying Starbucks and buying their products and different things like that," said Harris.

On Wednesday afternoon, Starbucks released a news release that stressed stores identified for closure are spread across all U.S. markets and the criteria used for closure included locations that were not profitable.

Under that criteria, Starbucks could open a third café at 159th and Harlem- if the company thought it would make a profit.


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