The Crusader Newspaper Group

South Shore’s only Starbucks closes with little information

South Shore’s only Starbucks abruptly closed recently, leaving loyal patrons confused and concerned about the future of the popular coffee shop located at 71st and Stony Island.

A Crusader journalist discovered the business closed on Friday, January 28 during a trip to a nearby business. The windows and doors of the building were covered from the inside with brown paper.

Taped on the front door was a sign that read “Our store is temporarily closed. Please accept our apologies for any inconvenience. We are working to re-open our store as quickly as possible.”

The sign encourages patrons to visit nearby stores by going online to find the nearest location. A floor sign placed in the store’s driveway said the facility was closed.

The sign did not say why the shop was closed or when the facility would reopen.

One passing patron said the shop was open for business January 27, one day before the Crusader discovered it closed. The patron said employees did not mention anything about the store’s impending closure.

Another patron on Tuesday, February 1 was confused as she prepared to park her car in the parking lot. She left after the Crusader’s journalist told her the Starbucks branch was temporarily closed.

Later that evening, the Crusader staffer discovered a huge boarded-up hole on the north side of the building on 71st Street where one patron said men were doing “some kind of work” on the building during the day.

north side
A HUGE HOLE is boarded up on the north side of Starbucks along 71st Street. (Photos by Erick Johnson)

A spokesman for Starbucks de clined to give an official statement about the temporary closure, but an email obtained by the Crusader hinted that there may have been an accident at their South Shore coffee shop. It was sent February 1 by Starbucks’ Akeisha Walker, who said, “We do not have an official date for the reopening of the store as we are awaiting the Landlord to finish repairs to the exterior of the building from the accident. We then have to complete interior repairs. We anticipate we will reopen sometime within the next two and a half weeks.”

Late Wednesday, the Crusader obtained a police report that was filed with the Chicago Police 3rd District Precinct. According to the report, on November 7, a Starbucks manager discovered that a car had struck the north side of the building before the driver drove off. The crash damaged the structure. No other information was provided in the police report.

In another February 1 email that was obtained by the Crusader was sent by Cloteal LaBroi, who’s Starbucks’s government and community relations manager for the Midwest region. The email read, “Our store at 71st & Stony Island temporarily closed on Wednesday, January 5th, while the building is working on maintenance and repairs. Our partners (employees) working at this location were given the opportunity to temporarily work at a nearby store of their choosing while repairs are completed. In the meantime, we look forward to continuing to serve our customers at our nearby 55th & Woodlawn location, a 10-minute drive away.”

Fifth Ward Alderman Leslie Hairston said Starbucks is remodeling its South Shore coffee shop. She said work needs to be done on the inside and outside of the building.

The Starbucks in South Shore opened in 2004 after Hairston reached out to Magic Johnson to partner with Starbuck’s to help open the company’s 67th coffeehouse in the country and fifth in Chicago.

The shop grew into a busy operation where a line of cars in the drive thru would spill out onto Stony Island during peak times of the day.

In addition to its location in Woodlawn, there are also Starbucks shops in Hyde Park, Englewood, Chatham and Bronzeville’s Marianos supermarket.


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