The one thing I wanted to know in the news stories about the closing of 600 Starbucks locations is the one thing none of them could tell me: Which stores will close?
To a true aficionado, this is a matter of some import. Among those I hope will not close are the following:
- Gervais Street — I went by this one this morning just to help out by buying a cup of the much-maligned Pike Place Roast. The Vista’s only location, its opening last year was long overdue. I suppose the cutbacks preclude the realization of my dream of another store opening nearby, only on the south side of the street — that one would have a drive-through window, and be well-positioned for those of us coming into town from Lexington County via 378. As things stand, the Gervais Street location is the only one conveniently located for folks coming in from West Columbia or Cayce, and therefore should be untouchable.
- 5 Points — Like the Vista, Five Points has to have at least one Starbucks, even though I’ve always slightly resented the fact that this one replaced the last incarnation of The Joyful Alternative.
- White Station in Memphis — Located right next to the Southern railroad tracks, this is a sentimental favorite for two reasons. First, it was for years the only Starbucks convenient to my in-laws’ home in the Bluff City, and I made many a trek there in the early days of my addiction — I mean, infatuation. Second, it replaced a Pancho’s taco location where my wife worked with her friend Mary to earn the money for their backpacking trip across Europe the summer just before I met her. I wasn’t there, but I’ve heard so much about it. And I ate a few tacos from there. I suppose I should resent that one replacing Pancho’s, just as I should resent the Joyful Alternative thing, but I don’t.
- Kirby Parkway (Memphis) near the Bill Morris expressway — Just because I picked up two cups (a tall Pike Place for right away, and a travel mug of Sumatra for the road) on my way out of Memphis Monday. It’s near Mary’s house, where some of us stayed over the weekend.
- Columbus Circle in Manhattan — Near a subway station I use pretty much every time I’m in New
York. Several of my kids and I used coffee from that location to warm us as we walked through Central Park on the super-cold (to me, anyway) day after Thanksgiving last year.
- The coffee shops in Barnes & Noble — Yeah, I know these aren’t technically Starbucks locations (they don’t accept Starbucks coupons for that reason). But they do "proudly serve Starbucks coffee," and they loom large in my own Starbucks legend. That’s where it all started for me, as documented in the early days of my blog. Being ignorant of the way business works, I worry that somehow the Starbucks corporate woes might indirectly affect some deal that Barnes & Noble has with them. May it never happen, because Barnes & Noble bookstores are my favorite places to drink the coffee, while browsing (but seldom buying — you don’t have to tell the Barnes & Noble people that, though). My two favorite such locations? Harbison, and the one at exit 247 on I-81 in Harrisonburg, Va. — a great place to stop on the way to PA.
As for which ones they should close? I have a list, but I don’t wish to see anyone lose his or her job, so I’ll keep it to myself for now. Let’s just if something has to go, I suppose I could live without any that compete a bit too closely for customers with any of my favorite locations…