City’s lone Starbucks store among those to be closed

The city’s first Starbucks apparently will also be its last.

The city’s first Starbucks apparently will also be its last.

Less than two years after the Seattle coffee giant built a drive-through coffee store on Watt Street — next to a Dunkin’ Donuts shop — that location will close. It is one of the 600 pending closures, which Starbucks announced last week.

WRGB Channel 6 reported Wednesday morning that the Watt Street Starbucks had posted a sign, saying, “Yes. We are one of the 600 stores that will be closed in the next few months.” By noon the sign had been taken down, but a worker there said the store will close. A Starbucks representative in New York could not confirm the Schenectady Starbucks will close.

Seventy percent of the closures will come at stores that opened since 2006. The company has about 20 stores within 20 miles of Albany, several of which have opened in the past two years.

Less than a year ago, the company was pursuing an aggressive expansion plan to open 40,000 coffee stores worldwide. That mission brought Starbucks to many Capital Region suburbs and Schenectady.

“Poor real estate decisions that were made, coupled with a very troubled economy, convinced us that these stores would not reach acceptable levels of profitability,” Starbucks Chief Executive Officer Howard Schultz said in an open letter to employees released Tuesday.

So far, Starbucks has been tight-lipped about what stores it will close. Shultz said the closures will be staggered. Closings will be publicly posted 30 days after employees at each targeted store are notified. The closings will start this month and run through March 2009.

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