After nearly 20 years in business, the Starbucks on Main and East Liberty Streets is set to close its doors on Oct. 28. Though this location is smaller and typically less crowded than the State Street Starbucks, it is a short walk from Central Campus and a staple of Ann Arbor’s booming coffee scene. To commemorate its tenure, the store offered an “Au Revoir Special” during the week before its closure: an iced shaken espresso with matcha cream cold foam.
In an email to The Michigan Daily, Andrew Trull, senior manager of corporate communications at Starbucks, said management decided to close the store after an internal review revealed declining financial performance and an employee turnover rate that was 20% higher than Starbucks’ national average. According to Trull, store closures tend to occur after Starbucks’ annual internal reviews.
“Each year as a standard course of business, we evaluate the store portfolio to determine where we can best meet our community and customers’ needs,” Trull wrote. “This includes opening new locations, identifying stores in need of investment or renovation, exploring locations where an alternative format is needed and, in some instances, re-evaluating our footprint.”
In an agreement between Starbucks and Workers United representatives, all employees at the Main and Liberty location were offered the option to transfer to other locations in the Ann Arbor area. Trull told The Daily these employees can start at a new store Oct. 29, the day after the Main and Liberty location closes, and will maintain their current roles and pay.
Across the United States, Starbucks has previously been accused of shutting down stores because of their union status. In July, a National Labor Relations Board judge found that Starbucks violated labor law by closing a unionized Ithaca location.
The Main and Liberty store voted to unionize in June of last year. According to Trull, the store’s union status had no impact on its closure.
“Outcomes of a regular business review announced last week were made without regard to union status and are intended to advance the Starbucks experience we deliver for our partners and our customers in stores across our global footprint,” Trull wrote. “We respect the rights of all partners to make their own decisions about union representation and to engage in lawful union activities without fear of reprisal or retaliation.”
LSA senior Christian Miller spoke with The Daily about his experience at the Main and Liberty Starbucks. Though Miller only visited the location if he was nearby because of its location off campus, he told The Daily he is sad to say goodbye to the store’s shorter queues and pleasant decor.
“I think it’s really cute,” Miller said. “It’s always quick and not as busy as (State Street) … I think the inside is also the nicest. It has a nice long bench by the window that you can sit on. I’m sad to see it go because I probably won’t like the thing that replaces it as much as Starbucks.”
Miller said he is worried about increased wait times at the other Starbucks locations after Main and Liberty closes.
“Not to dog on the workers — they work really hard you can obviously tell,” Miller said. “(But) there’s always a super long line, you’re always waiting for forever. … I’ve had waits here (be) an hour and 15 minutes. It’s just always so busy and (it’s) not the workers’ fault. It’s just how it is.”
LSA junior Imogen Smith is also worried about wait times. Smith told The Daily she thinks the State Street location will become a lot more crowded once the Main Street location closes.
“I definitely think the (Starbucks) on State Street will become more crowded because I feel like probably the one on (Main) more adults went to,” Smith said. “I think the adults are going to start going to the one on State Street because it’s more in that (downtown) area.”
Daily Staff Reporters Rebecca Lewis and Madison Hammond can be reached at email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.