Monday, February 8, 2016

Uptown's Original Starbucks Scheduled To Close Next Month

Sadly, the rumors we've been hearing for the past year are true and we'll have to get our Tall Non-Fat Lattes With Caramel Drizzle somewhere else. A reader writes:
"The Starbucks at Wilson and Magnolia recently got word from Corporate that it will be closing on March 7. The manager confirmed as much in a conversation this afternoon. All the employees will be given opportunities to transfer to other Starbucks. The manager told me that there was a possibility Starbucks will re-open in the Wilson Station when it is ready."
We confirmed the closing with a representative of Cedar Street, the building's owner, who said Starbucks had been a great tenant and they were sorry to be losing them.

We don't know the reason for corporate's decision to close this location, but there's a glut of coffee shops in the immediate vicinity, which may have led to caffeine overload. There's Heritage Outpost and Baker & Nosh, both within a block of the store; Everybody's Coffee a few blocks east on Wilson; and two other Starbucks a short walk away, at Lawrence/Broadway and inside Target at Sunnyside/Broadway. That's a lot of competition for the same target market.

Starbucks on Wilson was controversial when it opened in 1999 as a Magic Johnson-owned franchise with the goal to "create economic activity in historically underserved ethnic communities." Johnson Development Corporation sold the store back to Starbucks corporate in 2010. You can read more about the history of the franchise here.

We're sad to see this closing, and sad to see that the entire retail building will be vacant as of March 7th. Having all the spaces empty will give Cedar Street plenty of options for reconfiguring the storefronts if they so choose.

We hear that Baker & Nosh will be expanding its seating area in the near future, a move that will benefit Starbucks' former clientele. Pass the madeleine cookies, put on a compilation CD, and let's sit back and see how it all shakes out.

Update: A former manager of Starbucks posted on Uptown Update's Facebook page: "There are several reasons for the closure. It was starbucks decision to close. the upkeep from the previous owner (not cedar) was terrible, the store needed an expensive full remodel and when the decision was introduced there had been several shootings in the area. I believe they looked into relocating nearby, not sure where that went. It had nothing to do with homeless."


  1. there's a glut of coffee stores. Every bakery, every restaurant, everybody seems to be selling coffee. Not only that, but with the new coffee maker machines (Keurig) folks are making coffee at home. McDonald's has coffee for $1.
    I'm diabetic so going to Starbucks is a no-no because of their sweet coffees and lattes, which I love. Plus, it's a bit overpriced for me.

  2. Why???? I go to this Starbucks every weekend and more in the summer :( Anyone think a petition would work?

    1. This Starbucks was my weekend breakfast place :( so sad - not sure if anyone else cares like I do but I started a petition:

  3. There's a ton of coffee shops in this area. Baker & Nosh and Heritage Outpost are one block away and seem to be out-doing Starbucks. In particular, Baker & Nosh is absolutely packed on the weekends, this news about new seating is welcome.

    On top of that, you have Dunkin Donuts and McDonald's selling cheap coffee near by (Don't Sonic and 7-11 also sell cheap coffee?). There's also Everybody's Coffee on Wilson, east of Broadway. That's four cheap coffee shops and three upscale coffee shops in close proximity to that location, a lot of competition.

    When you also consider that they already have their location at Broadway and Lawrence, as well as the location in the Target, that's three locations no more than one mile from each other (along Broadway).

    Reopening in the Uptown Station building would be a good idea, as they could distance themselves a little bit from Baker & Nosh and Heritage Outpost, both of which seemed to be out-doing them while working in close proximity. Plus, I'm sure tons of Red Line riders would drop in for a cup of coffee and a pastry quite a bit. The North/Clybourn Starbucks does very well.

  4. Well, Starbucks will be okay. I'm very happy for the small guys down the street, Baker & Nosh. I hope you guys are able to thrive even more now. Support local business.

  5. I actually think it makes sense to put one in the new el station instead. They'll catch way more business there from commuters than in the current location.

  6. Starbucks was always busy, so I don't believe this was a business decision. It probably came down to simply saying they didn't want to be in Uptown and be around all the crazy crime. Of course Cappy will tell everyone that business are flocking to Uptown.

    Typically Starbucks doesn't leave area's they usually go out and improve their location to dominate the market.

    It should be interesting to see how Cappy spins this one!!!

  7. I am so bummed--I go there daily, and the staff there are the nicest people. They said this was a corporate decision and I believe them.

    Perhaps a new location in the new station will be a good idea, and I hope it works out for them.

    Anyone blaming Cappleman on this is an idiot. Regardless of the crime and the losers behind it, this is no one particular's blame.

  8. Bummed to see another empty store front on Wilson. This corner will be a sad site.

  9. where can i get one of those magnolia/sunnyside CHAOS WAY t-shirts ?

  10. Why doesn't the landlord cut a deal with them>