Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Dismantling of a Starbucks

My Starbucks store is closing. In fact, today is the last day it's open for business. Yep, the depressed economy is impacting even the infallible Starbucks.

I've been a Starbucks addict for over 13 years now, and I've been a loyal patron of this particular Starbucks store ever since we moved into our present house 4 1/2 years ago. Every morning I've gone in and ordered my Grande No Whip Mocha (well, except for that week that Tiffany, one of the baristas, refused to serve me mochas and instead made me broaden my horizons and try a new drink every day - I'm a creature of habit). It's so predictable that even Lilah knows what I order, and the girls actually like to play "Starbucks" at home, serving each other grande mochas and green tea frappuccinos (my occasional afternoon treat). Most of the baristas know me by name and they start my drink as soon as they see me walk in the door - some of them even know my truck and will make my drink when they see my pull up in the parking lot! They've watched me go through two pregnancies. They know all about Finn and the ordeal we went through with him after his birth - Michael and I would wander in, bleary-eyed, on our way to the NICU, and a couple of the baristas noticed the hospital ID bracelets we wore and asked, so I told. They adore Lilah and Finn, who often go with me to get my morning coffee, and ply them with stickers. They know about Michael's cancer; a few of them noticed his PICC line and asked me about it.

I wouldn't say that these people are friends, exactly, but they've become fixtures in my mornings. The familiarity gives me a sense of belonging in the neighborhood. The employees of this store will scatter now. A couple of them will be at another neighborhood Starbucks, but the rest are going to other parts, and I probably won't see them again.

It's been a sad thing to watch the store gradually dismantle over the last couple of weeks. A notice has been pasted to the front door alerting customers that the store will be permanently closing as of September 24. They've steadily moved out merchandise and store fixtures until this morning, the store was virtually bare except for the equipment behind the counter. When I got to the front of the line to pay for my drink this morning, Skye, the store manager, handed me a little Starbucks bag which was stapled closed. I didn't open it until I left the store, but inside I found a Starbucks gift card and some candy treats for Lilah. I was so touched, I actually got a little teary.

I'm no good with endings.


Cate said...

oh, that sucks.

you should send this to someone at starbucks HQ. maybe they'll reconsider. they should at least know that those people, and that store, will be missed.

Meghan said...

I also love Starbucks. Although I don't go every morning. I love that you've known these people and they have kind of "been there" through quite a lot! Hopefully you can find another one to brighten your day! How is Michael doing? I keep thinking I'm going to run into you at school and I don't. Hope all is well.

Chrystal said...

What a sad story.

I'm sorry that you've lost such a great group of folks.

Cate has a good idea. Forwarding the letter on to HQ would be nice, I think.