So Long Starbucks
July 21, 2008
Its official the Tahoe City Starbucks is closing.After opening its doors just more than a year ago in the Customs House building across from Safeway, the franchise officially known as Starbucks Coffee Company announced it will close its Tahoe City store along with about 600 other stores across the U.S.It cant close. It would be a loss to humanity, said West Shore resident Peter Lemmon, who buys a Venti Mocha, half caffeine, from Starbucks every morning, often with his daughter, Kateri, 17, who also admitted her coffee addiction.Lemmon insisted the Tahoe City Starbucks is essential.Im a lawyer and I need to stay awake, he said.Lemmon, who has nine children, said the store should stay open for several reasons, including good mood reasons.But no matter how many bad moods and headaches arise after the closure, Starbucks decided the store was not profitable enough to keep open.The decision came in January, when the company decided to transform its businesses to improve the current state of our U.S. business, reignite the emotional attachment with our customers and build the business for the long term, according to an e-mail from Starbucks.After reviewing its locations, Starbucks decided to close shops that are not profitable or will likely not provide acceptable returns in the future.I assumed this was gonna be the one that was spared, Lemmon said. Cause this is the one that I go to.Although the store will not be spared, Starbucks will not say when the store will close. The company said the impacted stores have staggering closing dates from now until March.Starbucks locations in big cities can afford to close a few shops, but the one in Tahoe City should stay open, said Kari Tank, who lives in Chicago, Ill., but is thinking about moving to Tahoe.In Chicago, there is a Starbucks on every block, and there are three 24-hour stores, she said. The company should lose some of those stores, she said as she drank her tall Soy Latte with only two pumps of hazelnut and one pump of mocha because the regular amounts are too much for her.And thats why I like Starbucks, because they have more choices, she said. If there is a Starbucks and a mom and pop, Ill usually go to Starbucks cause you know what its gonna taste like.Tank said she spends about $20 a month at Starbucks. Because of the struggling economy, she started working four 10-hour days at work to save gas money, but said she will definitely not cut back on her coffee purchases.The poor economy is partially why Starbucks is closing 8 percent of its company-operated U.S. locations. According to the company, 70 percent of the stores being closed were opened in the last two years.Some of our newer stores have not been able to meet the financial and operational objectives that we have set after they were opened, due to a variety of factors, Starbucks said in an e-mail.That news is well received by some locals.Of course Im glad to see them close, said Robin Dworkin, owner of Tahoe Citys oldest coffee shop, the Coffee Connexion, which has been open for 18 years. Theres too many local coffee shops in Tahoe City already.Dworkin said business hasnt been bad since Starbucks came to town, but she has noticed fewer people sitting on her patio during the summertime.I dont think Ive lost any local business because locals are pretty loyal, she said. But Im assuming Ive lost some tourists.When Starbucks closes, regulars like Lemmon can feed their addictions at the Coffee Connexion, Tahoe House, Dam Cafe, Syds Bagelry, Java Juice Wrap andamp; Bagel or Gear and Grind Cafe, all in Tahoe City.Lemmon said he will probably wait in line at another shop when Starbucks closes its doors, but he claims that the franchise is faster, cheaper and the drinks taste better.I guess Ill open one, he said.