I’m in my neighborhood Starbucks and if it’s not my imagination it seems a little down in here. I’ve noticed that in a number of the coffee shops since the big announcement recently that the chain would be closing 600 US stores in lower traffic areas. The release stated that the closures would begin later this year and be completed sometime next year but the atmosphere is almost like it’s started already. The problem is that employees have no idea yet which stores are going to be closed so it’s like having a guillotine is hanging over their heads. I’m sure Starbucks will not fire everyone affected but lets face it there’d be no point in closing the stores yet keeping all the employees. Store closures are to save money after all and workers present the lion’s share of potential cost savings, if you break it down to its cold-hearted base. It’s no wonder the workers are a bit jumpy these days. With such a long way to go it’s going to be a long depressed spell in most of the stores.
The worst part about these store closures to me, the customer, is how they will almost certainly be the locations with the lowest traffic. These are invariably the better places to work for extended periods as they are not as distracting as the super busy ones that no doubt have much higher sales and thus make the protected Starbucks list. When I think about my favorite Starbucks stores I can almost bet they will all be closed which is sad for me and all the other coffee shop warriors out there. It also helps explain why the little independent (read: no chains) coffee shops have such a hard time making a go of it. Low traffic = store closures. So sad.