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Valencia Starbucks to close

Loss of store expected to impact surrounding businesses

Posted: April 22, 2009 7:23 p.m.
Updated: April 23, 2009 4:55 a.m.

Valencia resident Aziz El-Farra speaks with Starbucks barista Adam Barlow on Wednesday. The store on 23880 West Copper Hill Drive will close on May 8.

Local coffee fanatics expressed disappointment Wednesday over the approaching close of a Valencia Starbucks Coffee store.

Starbucks Coffee Company recently posted a list of more than 150 coming closures nationwide -­­­­ including the 23880 West Copper Hill Drive location.

"I come here almost daily. It's convenient," said Aziz El-Farra, who lives just across the street in the Tesoro del Valle development. "It's a neighborhood shop for me. I come here often and sometimes my wife joins me. It's sad to see it go because you see the neighbors and friends around."

While El-Farra said he knows he doesn't have to drive far to find another Starbucks, he said he'll probably start brewing his own coffee as a personal protest.

The store is scheduled to close May 8, according to a sign hanging on the door. Limited hours from 6 a.m. to noon Monday through Sunday go into effect April 27.

Many, like El-Farra, like the store because it's convenient, but others cite other reasons for dismay over the store's closure.

Patty McKee said her son often embarks on walking trips to the Copper Hill Starbucks with a special-education program at Rio Norte Junior High School. The students in the program practice social skills like ordering, sitting at a restaurant or just interacting with employees, McKee said.

"This Starbucks has been very good in regards to that," said Patty's husband, Bob.

"They've just been a nice, welcoming group of employees that's made them feel comfortable, and as a parent, I just dig that," added Patty McKee. "(The store closing) just takes one option away for the classes."

Shanna Lanphere, of Celebrity Beauty Supply, said the store's closure will have an impact on her interaction with customers.

"When clients come in, we often buy them Starbucks," said Lanphere, who visits the Starbucks just a few doors down from her own place of work every day.

Employees at Great Clips, located in the same shopping strip as Starbucks, said the java stop was good for business.

"They're in a convenient spot. When people come here, they go there and when people go there, they come here," said stylist Amber Lyles.

While stylist Kayla Bogby orders from the Starbucks often, she admitted, "All I have to do is drive down the street and find another one."

A barista at the store, Adam Barlow, said Wednesday, "Employees are all being transferred to stores throughout the district."

In an e-mailed statement, a Starbucks said the company, "has been looking at all parts of the business to manage our cost structure and align the organization in the most efficient way possible. Our priority during this time is to prepare for the continued uncertainty in the economy and ensure we have a strong foundation to support our longer term goals."

So far, the company has announced the closure of about 900 stores.


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