Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Caribou Coffee to Fade to Black in Sandy Springs

Coffee shop closure coming.

Minneapolis, Minnesota-based Caribou Coffee will soon close their location on Roswell Road, just north of Buckhead in Sandy Springs. The freestanding coffee shop is one of the last remaining of the brand in metro Atlanta.  An employee at the location cited the company not being offered a lease renewal as the reason for its closure.

A sign posted on the location indicates the store will close as of Sunday, December 6th.  

Well placed sources indicate that Starbucks will replace it.  While it's likely that the nearby Starbucks in Publix-anchored Chastain Square will close in favor of this new location, Starbucks Media Relations has yet to return my call seeking comment.  

If the move/opening takes place, Starbucks would gain what it now considers a vital part of its business: a drive-through.  

Recently, Starbucks opened a new location, sans a drive-through, in a portion of the former MF Sushi at Terminus 100 in Buckhead.  Although close, the new Terminus location doesn't exactly replace the former location in Atlanta Financial Center, especially to those in the office complex.  The Atlanta Financial Center location which is today Highland Bakery, closed in 2009 as part of a round of closures.  

Caribou, too, has closed a number of locations in recent years, including those on Johnson Ferry Road in East Cobb, North Druid Hills & LaVista Roads at Toco Hills, at Perimeter Place in Dunwoody and on Peachtree Parkway at The Forum in Norcross.  Once a serious competitor to Starbucks, Caribou Coffee's Atlanta presence has now dwindled to eight locations including two at SunTrust Plaza and two at Hartsfield-Jackson airport.  

Joh. A Benckiser, a German holding company, owns majority stakes in both Berkeley, California based Peet's Coffee & Tea, as well as Caribou Coffee.  Previously, the group had indicated it planned to rebrand a number of local Caribou Coffee locations under the Peet's moniker, but that never happened.  Currently, Peet's only local presence is a small location within the Woodruff Library on the campus of Emory University which opened last year.  

More recently, Peet's has purchased both Portland, Oregon based Stumptown Coffee Roasters and Chicago, Illinois based Intelligentsia Coffee & Tea, each popular and established brands amongst coffee enthusiasts.  

One local reader who lives a stone's throw from the closing Caribou had previously expressed to me a desire for an independent coffee shop like Oakland, California's Blue Bottle Coffee Company.  This reader figured the Gateway project currently under construction would be an ideal location, and he personally promised to patronize it frequently. 

Although I think it's unlikely that Blue Bottle, which currently has just twenty-three locations worldwide, would open in Sandy Springs, perhaps Peet's or one of its newly acquired brands would be interested? 

What are your thoughts on the recent coffee openings and closings around Atlanta?  What one out of town coffee roaster would you like to see enter the Atlanta market?  Will you miss Caribou should they decide to leave Atlanta completely?

Please share your thoughts below.  

16 comments:

ImAndy said...

This makes me sad I'll sometimes drive out of my way of weekends for a mocha at Caribou which specifically is far superior to Starbucks. Caribou's holding company purchased Einstein and a giant Co-branding initiative is underway. I expect to see Sandy Springs (near willys/publix) and Ansley Mall and a few others get co-branded.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately I think Caribou's slow demise due to Starbucks has been coming for some time. If they opened up anything serving Stumptown I'd be making special trips over there because that stuff is out of control good.

Anonymous said...

I cannot understand why Caribou cannot compete in the space between the independents and Starbucks. The Roswell Road/Sandy Springs location seems like it would be a good spot.

KevK said...

Atlantic House, under construction in Midtown at 14th St & W Peachtree, has signage indicating Caribou will open there when the building is completed. (Along with Einsteins Bagels & McCrays Tavern)

Unknown said...

I thought Peets was going to start opening locations in town?

jeff a. taylor said...

Have to believe there will be a Caribou/Einstein re-boot at the East Cobb site which is shuttered. Space was split and clumsy and Einstein staff took WAY TOO LONG to fill orders. Still CC closed first despite having a steady biz as far as I could see, plus that all important drive thru. Maybe rent greed killed it. Dunno. Do know that space has been utterly empty for a couple years now. CC is SO much better than Charbucks if you like actual coffee. As good as boutiques? No way. But I have a hard time believing that Johnson Ferry location can't do coffee and breakfast at a profit.

Anonymous said...

Would love to see Peet's move in.

Jamie Teagle said...

My husband and I love Caribou and frequent the Northside/West Paces location. We were just talking yesterday about how we don't understand why so many coffeehouse locations have closed. We both feel that it's an excellent chain coffeeshop in every way - superior products and ambiance to Starbucks. I hope the last few locations in Atlanta can hang in there!

Anonymous said...

The staff were wonderful and the coffee is far superior to Starbucks which is very bitter. A great loss to the neighborhood, so where do we get our coffee now and meet our friends?

Jan said...

Very sorry to see that Caribou is gone. The employees there were terrific, as were the employees on Johnson Ferry in East Cobb. They made it fun to go through the drive-thru at both locations. Much better than Starbucks. Thank you Sandy Springs developers, who are driving out so many of the local and smaller chain retailers.

Carol said...

Would love to see a Peet's at Gateway. Great coffee.

Anonymous said...

Sad to see Caribou go. Loved the staff, the drive-thru and the ambience was far better than Starbucks. I hope a smaller coffee/tea shop comes in and not Starbucks. Doesn't Atlanta have enough of those anyway?? At least there is still a Catibou at West Paces and Northside. Love that location although it is off my beaten path.

Shad C said...

I hate to see that Caribou has closed down. I relocated here from the Twin Cities and its unfortunate that I dont see many Caribous at all. They are better than Starbucks in my opinion. You see a Starbucks on every corner here. I guess that is what people here are accustomed to. Wish there were more Caribous locations. I drive 30min just to enjoy Caribou!

John Stoj said...

Anything but Starbucks. :-(

Anonymous said...

FYI

http://www.snopes.com/politics/business/caribou.asp

"..So, in December 2000, Caribou Coffee Company, Inc. announced that it was selling a 70% stake (later to become an 87.8%) to Atlanta-based Crescent Capital, a deep-pockets investor backed by First Islamic Investment Bank of Bahrain for $80 million; founders John and Kim Puckett left the board, but CEO Don Dempsey stayed on to run the company for the new owners."

Ronda said...

I almost cried when I saw this Caribou had closed! The ambiance was wonderful and the coffee is so much better than Starbucks! Once this area settles down with the rerouting of Windsor, this would be a great spot for an independent coffee shop. How about Octane?