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Caffeine crash on Third Ave — Starbucks to close

for The Brooklyn Paper
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The news that Starbucks would abandon one of its four Bay Ridge locations was greeted like the classic David vs. Goliath story in the neighborhood this week — and we all know who the David is.

“Thank you, God!” said Blake Barkett, whose family owns Sally’s Coffee Shop on 85th Street and Third Avenue, after hearing that the Starbucks on Third Avenue near 84th Street would close next March.

Like many Ridgites interviewed this week, Barkett had little sympathy for the financial woes that are forcing the Seattle-based coffee giant to shutter 600 stores nationwide.

“They deserve to close,” he said. “That’s what they get for coming so close to so many mom-and-pop coffee shops.”

Neighborhood opinion about Starbucks wasn’t always as bitter as the chain’s famous coffee. Indeed, when the first Bay Ridge Starbucks opened in 1999 on 92nd Street, many residents were relieved that their sleepy burg could finally enjoy the caffeinated concoctions that urbanites all over the country had been taking for granted for years.

But when the 84th Street location opened last December — the fourth in a 10-block radius — many Ridgites began to feel that the green mermaid had become an octopus.

“I grumble when I see their logo, which is wherever I go now,” said Nazi Shekarchi.

Starbucks admits that it may have oversaturated the market with its grande caramel macchiatos, with stores so close together that they cut into each other’s business. But the move to close one of the locations came as a surprise to many given the company’s commitment back in November to actually open 75 new stores in Brooklyn over the next three years.

“Without a doubt, I thought they would survive,” said Mary Ann Kearns, co-owner of Caffe Café, a coffee shop across the street from the closing Starbucks.

Kearns was relieved to have one less competitor on the block, but, then again, her business hadn’t been affected too much by the coffee giant.

“Starbucks drinkers like Starbucks coffee; they weren’t really coming here anyway,” she said.

Of course, customers at the doomed store were dismayed to learn of its demise.

“That’s a real shame,” said Rich Sullivan, who had never been inside a Starbucks before it came to Bay Ridge several years ago. “It’s been an improvement to the neighborhood. It’s a great place to just relax and hang out.”

Despite the gloomy expressions of some Starbucks customers, they have nothing to worry about, says frequent customer MaryAnne LaBasso.

“There’s always another one down the street,” she said.

Indeed, even with this location’s closing, there will still be three more Starbucks in the neighborhood: on 92nd Street and Third Avenue, 75th Street and Third Avenue, and 86th Street and Fifth Avenue.

Updated 5:07 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

B from around the corner says:
u will not be missed
July 22, 2008, 12:42 pm
Michael from Park Slope says:
I hate to sound like an evil meanie taking gleeful delight in Starbucks' possible flight into oblivion, but I really don't care. This dandy chain of exotic brews and pretentious caffeine groupies seems a mockery to America's current economic crisis.

As I state on my blog regarding Starbucks demise: In a day and age when the Wall Street Journal mentions General Motors with the word "bankruptcy" in the same sentence, one should understand that he or she will have to eventually cut back on their cream and sugar. Luckily for me, I already take my coffee black.
July 22, 2008, 5:47 pm
Michael from Bay Ridge says:
I am glad to see this starbucks close if only because their drinks are so full of sugar and preservatives.
Their products are not very healthy, and I would be glad to see McDonalds-es and Burger Kings closing well.
Bay ridge has a solid set of local buisnesses that clearly serve higher quality products.
July 23, 2008, 5:11 am
Josh says:
I'm by and large not a patron of Starbucks, and I love nothing more than the idea of a successful mom-and-pop coffee house.

But guess what? With the high NYC rents, the local mom and pop operations can barely afford to make it selling coffee and providing a place for laptop peeps to hang out all day. Rising food and heating costs and an economic downturn is going to further push them towards the oblivion.

The economic realities of running any food & beverage business are tough. A coffeehouse? That much tougher.
July 24, 2008, 10:31 am
Zaphod Beeblebrox from Betelgeuse says:
While (or perhaps because) I am not a coffee drinker, I say good riddance to bad rubbish.
July 24, 2008, 12:37 pm
B from around the corner says:
with all these responses sounding alike, makes you wonder how these stores open up in the first place ...?

we're going to see a lot of this in the near future...
July 24, 2008, 2:22 pm
Moishe from Bay Ridge says:
EVERYONE is downsizing, including Starbucks. Doesn't mean Starbucks, in the grander sense, is going anywhere. On the contrary, they are the only game in town. When happy days are here again, and the consumer spending engine kicks into high gear... you'll have more Starbucks than ATM machines.
July 25, 2008, 2:24 pm
Kai B from Greenpoint says:
This is hardly news... There are three others in the neighborhood. I don't understand why these closings are receiving so much coverage. If Chase closed three branches in Brooklyn no one would care.
July 27, 2008, 2:13 pm
kaitlin from bay ridge says:
me and my freinds got interviewed for this article and were dissapointed to find out that we were not in it =[
July 30, 2008, 10:52 pm

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