Mapping the Starbucks closings: Is your coffee shop on the list?

When you heard that Starbucks would be shutting 600 under-performing stores by March, did you wonder if a coffee shop near you was on the list? Everyone is curious. Blogger Paul Kedrosky mapped the 50 locations Starbucks officially announced it would close. The Seattle Times, Starbucks' hometown newspaper, went a step further and mapped all the stores that are rumored to close, according to baristas, customers the media and others. They've even opened a tip center for rumors of more closings.

The maps both show to some extent how Starbucks overextended itself in frothy real estate areas. The map of official closings shows five stores doomed in Las Vegas, six in southern California, but none yet in Florida.The rumor map has six in Florida, seven in Vegas and 22 in southern California. Dallas, Minnesota, Oklahoma City and Omaha will be caffeine-deprived.

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Mapping the Starbucks closings: Is your coffee shop on the list?
Not only products are being eliminated at Starbucks, stores too. 600 of them. The company has recently published the list of stores to be closed, and this Starbucks store at 18th and Hawthorne in Portland, Oregon is on the close list.
Will Starbucks' foray into protein smoothies be a success like the vanilla cream frappuccino? Here's hoping it isn't a failure like some of these products...
Look at the image. How do you market music and children's products alongside coffee beans? No wonder music and children's products are going away.
I tried the iced orange mocha last summer at a grand opening of a Starbucks in my neighborhood (wonder if it's on the closures list??). I thought it was *interesting* but... not a huge winner. Evidently corporate thought so too, the orange mocha isn't on the menu any more.
"If I wanted to smell hot breakfast sandwiches, I'd go to McDonald's," not one, but many customers have complained. Along with announcing store closures, eliminating breakfast sandwiches was one of the first changes Howard Schultz has made when returning to the role of CEO as he attempts to focus the company back to its main business.
While you may easily find Christmas merchandise at your local Starbucks, most seasonal merchandise is going to be reduced greatly.
Who would have thunk it? The blackberry green tea frappuccino was saddled with too many flavors, and by 2007 was off the menu at Starbucks everywhere.
After the company has completed its switch to hormone-free milk, it also stopped offering organic milk. The official explanation was its strategy to cut down on the number of items on the menu, but mostly it just never caught on. Kids, however, can still get their Horizon organic milk boxes.
While Starbucks continues to sell most cold sandwiches and prepared salads, some, like the Asian noodle salad, are gone.

What will be interesting to see is whether Starbucks just has to cut back on stores that were part of the real estate bubble or whether their core, urban market is dying. Are they cutting just fat or muscle? We've already seen that people are cutting back on luxuries, Starbucks among them. The Starbucks stock (NASDAQ: SBUX) reached a high of $39.50 in October, 2006, but now trades at under $14.

The company says that many of the dying stores are near surviving stores, so customers won't have to walk far. They also say that 70% of the closing stores have opened in the last couple years. Will it finally be the end of the coffee shop bubble, with a Starbucks on multiple corners in an intersection? At Astor Place outside the AOL office in New York, there are still two Starbucks. A couple weeks ago I went to meet an editor "at the Astor Place Starbucks" and we went to different ones. There used to be a third before the Barnes and Noble closed. Could we get by with just one? (And by one, I mean one within 500 feet or so, because there are three others within four blocks).

The reactions to the closings will certainly be mixed. Plenty of suburbs stake their pride on having a Starbucks. Georges Yared was outraged on BloggingStocks about a particularly fun and prosperous Starbucks closing. My hometown of Des Plaines, IL, has pined for one for years, only to be spurned. The Chicago Daily Heraldmourns the closing of two other stores. Meanwhile some labor unions and consumer advocates are cheering these developments on. Rev. Billy of the Church of Stop Shopping is pretty happy and hopes local businesses will pick up the slack.

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