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Muskogee Starbucks closing
[July 19, 2008]

Muskogee Starbucks closing

(Muskogee Phoenix (Muskogee, Okla.) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Jul. 19--While confirming that stores in Muskogee and Tahlequah are among its 600 stores due to close, officials with Starbucks Coffee still won't say when the last latte will be sold at these stores.

"The timing of specific store closures depends upon a number of factors, and we will not be able to confirm an exact date," said Laura Rose, account executive with Edelman Southwest, a Texas public relations firm representing Starbucks. "If there is a date posted, we can anticipate that the store is closing; however, we are not able to confirm that the date posted is final."

Employees at both stores said they were not allowed to comment.

The Muskogee store, 591 W. Shawnee Bypass, and the one at 1702 S. Muskogee Ave., in Tahlequah were among 15 Oklahoma stores listed on a spread sheet the Seattle-based Starbucks released Thursday. Other closings include four in Oklahoma City, two in Edmond and one each in McAlester, Claremore, Tulsa, Ponca City, Lawton, Del City and Altus.

"This one, they just built here," Paula Richardson said as she and a friend picked up some frozen frappuccinos at the Muskogee Starbucks drive-through. "I come as often as I can."

The Muskogee Starbucks opened at the corner of Shawnee Bypass and Sixth Street shortly before Thanksgiving.

When told of the store's closing, Jessica Bryson of Muskogee simply said "bummer."

She said she usually comes to the store once a week and likes the iced honey latte.

She said she not only will miss coming to the store, but also buying fresh coffee beans.

"They grind them here. It's just fresher," she said.

Barbara Baker, a Fort Gibson resident who enjoys mocha cappucinos, said she had heard earlier that the Tahlequah and Muskogee stores were due to close.

"I think it's terrible," she said. "It puts the nearest ones in Tulsa or Fort Smith."

No Fort Smith stores are on the list, though the list shows one closing in Van Buren, Ark., and two in Rogers, Ark.

Muskogee Chamber of Commerce President Sue Harris said she's "sad to see any business go."

She said Starbucks' impending closing "is not a reflection on the community."

The coffee chain, with more than 6,000 stores around the world, announced on July 1 that it would close nearly 600 company-operated stores in the U.S. beginning this month and continuing through the rest of 2008.

Its preliminary list had no Oklahoma stores though a spread sheet released on Thursday listed all stores subject to closing.

A press release on the Starbucks' Web site said, "The determination of each store's closure date is dependent on several operational and contractual factors and events. We will be as transparent as possible and each month, after closure dates have been communicated to all affected partners, we will post a list of the stores that are scheduled to close during that month."

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