Farewell, Starbucks

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Bea Parr Before school, after school, during frees, during advisory, and even during lunch, the Starbucks at Clark and Germania teems with members of the Latin community. Students, teachers, and parents frequent this Gold Coast staple, as its vast menu has something for just about everyone. Besides food and drink, the space provides an area for people of all ages to socialize, work, or simply take a break. With this much popularity, it came as a shock to everyone when this Starbucks announced that it was closing. Germania Place Starbucks will be closing on March 24th, in the middle of Latin’s spring break. The coffee shop is a part of the historically landmarked Germania Club building, which was bought by a Chicago investor called R2 Companies in 2018. The company has since expressed its goal of upgrading its retail and event spaces and raised rent for the space. According to one of the baristas, “their demand was too high for Starbucks. It’s just too much.” Even the chain’s employees did not see it coming. “It was a surprise,” one of them said. Losing such a popular spot will certainly have a large effect on the Latin community, and students are already upset about its closing. Junior Taylor Pulver says, “As someone who frequents Starbucks, I was very sad to hear the news. I love going to Starbucks before practice, at lunchtime, or during a free for a change of scenery. It’s hard to imagine that in just over a month, it won’t be there anymore.” However, she is understanding of the situation: “It makes sense because there is also a Starbucks within close proximity on Wells and North” Sophomore Luca Craige says, “I think that a lot of people like to go there during and after school; there are people who go there all the time.” He considers the effect its closing will have on our own food provider, HandCut Foods, saying, “I think it will bring in more revenue to our cafés.” This may be true, but the first floor kiosk and the Roman Café are quite different from the Starbucks across the street. They have shorter hours, a smaller menu, and are on campus; one can’t help but wonder if and how they will be able to keep up with the influx of ex-Starbucks drinkers. Alicia, who works at the kiosk, wonders how this will affect business, “Maybe it’s going to be more busy, or maybe they will try to find another place they want to go, but we will see what happens.” When asked if the kiosk would be changing its hours to accommodate the potential heightened demand, she says, “Possibly, they have emails requesting it, they might change it. It depends if the students and teachers ask for it.” She is not sure about whether the kiosk will change or expand its menu to address a greater need, so the students and faculty will have to wait and see. Whether or not the kiosk adjusts, many people will have to change their routine. According to English teacher Rahul Gupta, “That’s a space that [Latin students] have used for many years, it’s a space that they enjoy going to for a break, and for going outside the building to get a refreshing beverage.” The students aren’t the only people who will have to change their ways. “Teachers will be upset too, a lot of teachers like Starbucks and that was where they went before. It was part of their ritual every day to go to Starbucks and get their coffees,” he says. “As a former employee of Starbucks it’s very sad too. I like Starbucks.” Mr. Gupta says, “I like going there and the baristas there are super nice, so hopefully they are able to land on their feet and find another job.” When asked about how the Latin cafés compare to Starbucks, he said that “they’re different. I normally do not get any espresso drinks here, I usually just get coffee. I am a big fan of Starbucks espresso drinks so maybe I will have to try the kiosk espresso drinks. Maybe I will do that right now.” Visits to the Starbucks across the street have been a part of the daily routine of members of the Latin community for many years, and a change in this routine comes as a shock. While it’s easy to spend time being upset and wishing that things would remain how they used to be, it’s important to understand why these changes happen and use changes such as these as an opportunity to try something new— whether that’s trying espresso drinks at the kiosk like Mr. Gupta or trekking to the Starbucks on Wells and North.]]>