Jul 19 2008

Starbucks Largely Spares Baltimore from Closings

Published by at 8:36 am under Uncategorized

The news that Starbucks was planning on closing approximately 600 under-performing stores was accompanied with concern by some Baltimore City residents.? Starbucks, which was a relative late-comer to Baltimore compared to other major US cities, is seen by some as a bellwether to a city’s economy.? Starbucks is disparaged by some for supposedly? putting smaller coffee shops out of business, but others feel that? Starbucks helps other shops by? getting more? people hooked on the caffeinated drinks and by spurring other retail developments.?

Regardless of how you look at it, Starbucks has largely spared Baltimore? Area? from? the? closings sweeping across the nation.? The only two locations within the city limits that will close are the locations at Harborplace and Belvedere Square.

Personally, I was surprised to hear the Harborplace location was closing. Whenever I was there, the place was packed with tourists.? Rumor has it, that General Growth which manages the leasing at Harborplace has raised the rent? to push out some of the current retailers in an effort to bring in more “high-end” retail.? California Pizza Kitchen also recently fell victim to high rent at Harborplace and shut its doors.? With this economy, General Growth might just end up with a bunch of vacant storefronts.?

For a list of all Starbucks stores that are closing, follow the link below:

http://i.usatoday.net/money/industries/food/starbucks-list.pdf

jeffcantonite@yahoo.com

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2 Comments to “Starbucks Largely Spares Baltimore from Closings”

  1. kungpow12on 22 Jul 2008 at 1:38 pm

    I too was surprised that more Baltimore city Starbucks weren’t being closed. However, I’m not surprised that Harborplace is closing. My fiance used to work as a barista when she was at the Peabody Institute and worked at the Harborplace, Gallery, Centerpointe and 301 N. Charles St. locations at one point or another.

    Harborplace is busy on the weekends during the summer, but during the weekdays (particularly mornings) it’s nearly vacant. During the fall, winter and early spring Harborplace is closed since nobody really wants to visit the Inner Harbor in January. So, the store essentially has to make a full year’s revenue in 4 months or so. Even on a conservative revenue expectations framework, that’d be difficult but Starbucks demands consistently high revenues from its stores.

    If you’ve ever walked through those pavilions on a Saturday afternoon in the summer (which obviously you have) you know how loud and crowded they are. Now imagine working at a Starbucks dealing with overweight and under-mannered tourists all day while inhaling the grease fumes and 50′s oldies muzak blaring over the noise from Johnny Rockets next door. Needless to say, the only baristas who worked there were those who had been ordered to go there. Not a real morale building environment.

    Also, it’s important to realize that there’s five Starbucks within the immediate walkable downtown area (Harborplace, The Gallery, Harbor East, 301 N. Charles and Centerpointe) so there was a lot of customer cannabalization going on.

    When you take all that into account, closing Harborplace makes perfect sense in this context. I’m just surprised they aren’t closing more in the area but I suppose if sales get worse, we might see another round of closures late in the year.

  2. BmoreRobon 24 Jul 2008 at 2:29 pm

    I’m not surprised they’re closing the Harborplace location. Although it’s not closed in the “off-season,” it is empty. To me the Harborplace pavilions are pretty depressing places. Cheesy, overpriced shops and annoying people. Cheesecake is good, but not worth an hour+ wait.

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