Never one to simply repeat news, I wanted to share my thoughts on recent coffee developments.
As a non coffee drinker, my thoughts relate purely to the business and real estate aspects of recent
Brooklyn Center, Minnesota-based Caribou Coffee announced earlier this week it plans to close 80 locations nationally, and will convert another 88 locations to sister chain, Peet's Coffee & Tea. Both coffee chains were purchased in separate transactions last year by German private equity group Joh. A. Benckiser.
Emeryville, California-based Peet's Coffee & Tea is credited by some with creating the framework on which Howard Schultz and his two partners based Starbucks. Both coffee houses started on the west coast, Starbucks in Seattle and Peet's in the Bay Area, but Peet's predates Starbucks by five years having been founded in 1966.
Today Peet's has nearly 200 locations, mainly on the west coast while Starbucks has over 20,000 locations, worldwide, some mere blocks apart.
Reports are that after the merger, Caribou Coffee will be made up of 468 locations across Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Western Wisconsin, Iowa, Kansas, North Carolina, Denver, and ten international markets.
Locally, twelve Caribou Coffee locations will be affected. Four locations will close entirely while the remaining eight will convert to Peet's.
Caribou has closed locations in Dunwoody, Edgewood, midtown, and most recently in Woodstock, among others in recent years, leaving them with the rather small presence of the twelve current locations. Interestingly, in my research for this post, I found a June 2011 article from the AJC where Caribou's CEO Mike Tattersfield said he sees Atlanta as "a major growth market in the near future, with the potential for 100 locations in the metro region in the next five to ten years."
I was able to learn the locations that will close entirely and based on my own experience and knowledge of the areas, at least two surprised me. Caribou's North Druid Hills at LaVista Roads location, near Toco Hills as well as their Norcross location at The Forum, are both slated for closure April 14th. The Toco Hills location shares a former Pollo Tropical with Einstein Bros. Bagels, and despite competition from literally all sides (Dunkin' Donuts, Starbucks, Bagel Palace, Goldberg's, Atlanta Coffee Roasters), seemed to always be busy.
A third location on Johnson Ferry Road near Merchants Walk in East Cobb will close as well another on Powers Ferry Road in Marietta.
Among the eight locations scheduled to be converted to Peet's over the next "12-18 months" are shops in Buckhead on Peachtree Road and another on Northside Drive in addition to one in Sandy Springs on Roswell Road, just north of Wieuca.
Other Caribou locations slated for conversion to Peet's include downtown in Peachtree Center and SunTrust Plaza, at 10th Street & Piedmont Avenue in midtown and a pair of outlets at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.
Previously shuttered Caribou Coffee shops have become a variety of businesses.
In Dunwoody, the former Caribou at Perimeter Place is today a Five Guys while their former Edgewood Retail shop recently reopened as an Uncle Maddio's Pizza Joint. The chain's former midtown location near Ansley Mall is now home to HOBNOB, a neighborhood tavern. Given the logistical complexity of their Toco Hills location, what should replace it, or any of their other three area shops slated for closure?
Atlantans have a seemingly constantly dwindling number of local shops to choose from. I posted news last month that Everybody's Pizza was closing their Emory Village location and with it, Steady Hand Pour House, who was subletting, would also close. April 24th will be their last day though they have pledged to reopen elsewhere in the future.
Aurora Coffee, another ITP favorite once had three locations in Ansley, at Monroe Drive & Piedmont Avenue, Virginia-Highland and Little Five Points on Moreland, but come May 21st, the city will be left with just one. A number of years ago their Ansley location closed and was replaced by a Smoothie King and now their Virginia-Highland location will close apparently because their landlord "wanted to go in a different direction." Given the shops neighbor is a cheesey Yogli Mogli froyo shop, I cringe when I think what may replace this cute neighborhood gem.
The good news, Aurora's owners, husband and wife Eric Levin and Madonna Hill have signed a long term lease for their Little 5 Points location and plan to expand their business in "other directions."
Other recent notable local coffee shop closures include San Francisco Coffee in Poncey Highlands, replaced with HD1, a struggling gourmet hot dog shop and Library Coffee in Brookhaven, replaced with The One, a sushi restaurant.
*San Francisco Coffee Shop did relocate nearby
*San Francisco Coffee Shop did relocate nearby
Where is your favorite place for a cup of Joe in Atlanta? Do you favor chains like Starbucks or local shops like Aurora, Dancing Goats and REV?