The Twitter buzz around Caribou Coffee in Chicago remains the same: multiple check-ins at various locations across the city and little mention of the company’s decision to convert the large majority of their locations into Peet’s Coffee and Tea stores within the next 12-18 months. No additional news stories have been published regarding the upcoming changes to the city’s coffee scene, but an additional angle will be added to my story: how the Caribou departure has been affected by the “boutique” cafe prominence, or how it will affect that scene as well.
With three locations in East Lakeview alone, and one in Lakeview proper, Caribou has a formidable presence in the northside of Chicago. While employees and managers at all of these locations have been unwilling to speak on the move thus far, I’m confident that patrons and neighborhood residents will have some valuable things to say in regards to why Caribou is leaving, how Peet’s will fair, and what will be the effect on the smaller, privately owned cafe’s in the area.
One Caribou fan and DePaul University Sophomore, Teddy Flynn, said,”I heard they were closing from employees, I’ve been coming here for years because I live around the corner.” He added, “I hope Peet’s is as good or better, I don’t really care for the little boutique feel, which seems to be turning into the rend in this city.”
No one that I contacted from Caribou’s owner has returned a response, so my reports will be mainly concerned with Caribou customers, smaller cafe customers, and neighborhood residents.