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'It was my second home': customers lament closure of 'silent' Burnaby mall Starbucks

Starbucks has been steadily closing some of its locations
2020-10-01 Starbucks takeout
Starbucks has closed several of its Burnaby and Metro Vancouver locations in the last year. Photo/ Starbucks Canada

For some people, a coffee house isn’t just a place to pick up some java and a muffin – it’s like a second home.

That second home became challenging during the COVID-19 pandemic, but so many of them have been closed to customers or only available for pick-up service.

Others, however, have never re-opened.

Like, for example, the Starbucks located at the Indigo store in Metropolis at Metrotown. It shut down during the pandemic and looks to be closed permanently.

“It was my second home,” said Jen, who spoke to the NOW on Friday at the Indigo store. “I spent a lot of time here studying for school and then doing work for my job. It’s nice to get out of the house and this was my favourite Starbucks because it was so much quieter than other locations because it was inside a book store. It felt so silent. I could also easily shop at the mall. It’s too bad.”

One Indigo staff member said it sucked to see it closed because they got to know all of the staff and it was really convenient to get her favourite drink.

This is the second Starbucks closed at Metropolis.

The Starbucks on the second floor of Metropolis at Metrotown closed forever Feb. 1, due to impacts stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic.

There is another Starbucks in the mall – a fair walk to the food court - but a customer who contacted the NOW said this was the fastest one to hit before hopping onto the Metrotown SkyTrain.

“It’s about timing,” said the woman, who didn’t want her name used because she admitted this was “first-world problems,” but said her commute is pretty tight due to child-care issues. “I only have so much time and this was perfect. This is really disappointing.”

Starbucks says its plan to close up to 300 coffee shops across Canada were completed by the end of March.

The Seattle-based coffeehouse and roastery chain announced the acceleration of its five-year "transformation strategy" last year as it responded to changes in consumer habits during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a statement, the company says some of its locations closed last fall and it expects to complete its planned store closures by the end of its second quarter.

The restructuring includes adding new drive-thru locations, the expansion of delivery and a pilot of curbside pick-up only coffee shops.

The company began experimenting with pick-up only locations before the pandemic. The first Canadian Starbucks store using the new format, which measured 93 square metres or 1,000 square feet, launched in Toronto's financial district last January.

Starbucks says the changes will help the coffee chain "best meet our customers where they are now."

The company had previously said it would close up to 200 of its locations in Canada over two years.

  • With files from The Canadian Press