One Oak Park Caribou Coffee closing, one staying

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By Anna Lothson

Staff Reporter

News broke today that Caribou Coffee is shutting down most of its Chicago locations, but only one Oak Park location will be affected.

Max Williams, Director of Downtown Oak Park, confirmed that he learned the Caribou at 423 N. Harlem will be staying, but the other shop at the corner of Oak Park Avenue and Lake Street will close Sunday, April 14.

The Minneapolis-based cafe chain announced that it will be closing a majority of its 66 Illinois locations; more than a dozen will be converted to Peet's Coffee & Tea shops over the next few months. Williams wasn't told if or when the Harlem Avenue Caribou would make that switch. Caribou was bought last year by The Joh. A. Benckiser Group, a German investment company, who bought Peet's just months before.

Despite the ownership change, the news of the closures hit suddenly in the area. Caribou President Mike Tattersfield released a statement today to the press.

"Over the past few months, we at Caribou have revisited our business strategy, including closely evaluating our performance by market to make decisions that best position us for long-term growth," Tattersfield said." While the decisions we've made have been difficult for our team in Minneapolis, as well as our team members across the country and our guests and fans everywhere, we are working to make this transition as seamless as possible for the Caribou community."

Contact:
Email: anna@oakpark.com Twitter: @AnnaLothson

Reader Comments

21 Comments - Add Your Comment

Comment Policy

Hey Folksy Jon  

Posted: April 10th, 2013 6:45 AM

Hey Jon, I thought you were a businessman? I guess since to have turned into vma water-boy you have been forced to remove your thinking cap. Business decisions are usually made based on financial results, you know things like gross margin. If this location does not reopen as a petes it is because it did not meet the financial results need to sustain the business. So, either sales were too low or cost were too high to run the business. One word to you: Duh!

Jon Hale from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: April 9th, 2013 5:26 PM

Hey folks -- The company that owns the Caribou chain is closing 80 stores nationwide and rebranding another 88 Peet's, so this has nothing to do with how hard/easy it is to open a business in OP. The OP/Lake area will continue to thrive when several new restaurants open as is planned.

Sara from Oak Park  

Posted: April 9th, 2013 5:06 PM

@ Coffee Geek, Please contact us at OPDC. We would love to see if we can help.

Dan Lauber from River Forest  

Posted: April 9th, 2013 4:57 PM

Really sorry to hear Caribou at Lake & Oak Park Ave is closing. Our 4 year old grandson really enjoyed going there for a muffin before nursery school (what, you thought he had a shot of java there?). The culture at Caribou is so much more pleasant that certain other national coffee house chains. Hopefully it will resurrect itself as Peets.

Gunsmith  

Posted: April 9th, 2013 1:57 PM

Good thing there's still no gun store ordinance! That would be a perfect spot for my artisinal semiautomatic rifle and tea shop.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: April 9th, 2013 1:44 PM

The Office of the Village Clerk records the proceedings of all Village Board meetings, including committee and special meetings; maintains all official records, certifications and the Village seal; and monitors Village compliance with the Open Meetings Act and Freedom of Information Act. The office also serves as the local election authority and registrar for voters, inspects weighing and measuring devices under the auspices of the state, and prepares information on violations of Village ordinances. In addition, the Village Clerk issues business licenses and permits, coordinates license-related inspections and collects a range of fees, including for business licenses and permits and real estate transfer taxes. The Office also coordinates citizen participation on Village advisory boards and commissions, and coordinates certain special community events.

Teresa Powell  

Posted: April 9th, 2013 1:21 PM

Village Code specifically prohibits any new pawnshop in Oak Park, so if you wanted to open one, sorry!

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: April 9th, 2013 1:19 PM

I just love it when office holders get all friendly and helpful on re-election day.

Pawn Stars  

Posted: April 9th, 2013 1:00 PM

That would be a perfect place for a pawn shop.

Teresa Powell  

Posted: April 9th, 2013 12:06 PM

Regarding empty spaces in the Hemingway District, three new restaurants are opening this summer: OMG! Brunch & Boutique in the Thyme and Honey/Val's Halla space, PINTS across the street, and a new Greek restaurant in the old Papaspiros location. This district will be even more of a restaurant destination.

OPRFDad  

Posted: April 9th, 2013 12:04 PM

Too bad. A nice place to grab a cup on a Saturday morning. Maybe a Karate studio or a bank or a wig shop or a payday loan store can move in there.

Coffee geek  

Posted: April 9th, 2013 11:51 AM

Hi Violet, don't forget you have Blue Max over on Lathrop...they roast their own & it ain't half bad. I think there are plenty of good locations all over OP. My point was more that it isn't just being "more business friendly" cutting red tape. There are other indie biz that could thrive here--cloth diapers anyone?--but startups require not just tons of time/effort but also cash. I'd love to see more grants/loans explicitly for the purpose of creating & maintaining more indie biz in the village.

Violet Aura  

Posted: April 9th, 2013 11:17 AM

@Coffee Geek--have you thought about RF? Are the regs in OP for the whole area or just downtown? Because the southern section (by the Ike) would be another great location. There is the Buzz...Forgot about that. But what pisses me about the Buzz is that they are trying to make their space like a restaurant. I want a place like the city where you can go into a cool space. Bridgeport Coffee Co. is one of my fave spots. I have hit many of the ones in the city--it's a small pleasure.

Coffee geek  

Posted: April 9th, 2013 11:06 AM

I'd love to open up an indie on-premises roasting cafe, but it's not just OP rules and regs. It's also financing for the roughly $10,000 for even a small shop roaster...tough to do. But, hey, if someone wants to leave their contact info--I'd love to bring hand-roasted organic & fair trade coffees to Oak Park. Otherwise, head to Intelligentsia. lol Actually, we love Caribou and are glad they're keeping open our location...the baristas know our names and drinks before even ordering.

Violet Aura  

Posted: April 9th, 2013 10:56 AM

I would like to see an INDEPENDENT cafe open up. Think about it: besides Red Hen and the Sugar Fixe, where can one go for a cup of java that is not a corporate store? Because of the high tax rates and business rental costs in the busy sections of town, we are becoming another Hindale or Naperville. It's basically a sea of chain restaurants and other businesses and that's a doggone shame.

June  

Posted: April 9th, 2013 10:35 AM

I agree w/both dudes. It already looks awful w/the former Flybird space empty & now it's a dentist office & Chameleon & Papaspiros vacant & now the corner tenant. We need some business development in the Avenue Business District...oops I mean the Hemingway District

Sad Is When Taxes Go Up  

Posted: April 9th, 2013 10:33 AM

Why is it "sad"? Folks, we live in a capitalist economy where retail businesses have been opening and closing for about 225 years. Caribou's closing has nothing to do with Oak Park. This was a corporate decision based on what location was more profitable between the two. Many factors weigh on profitability including and most importantly what rent levels are. What's sad here is the VOP's continued 1960's Central Planning legacy vs. a climate that fosters local business. We need change.

ANother dude from Oak Park  

Posted: April 8th, 2013 10:10 PM

I agree with "the Dude"...just sad...my favorite coffee place on the way to the train station.. The Village better come up with something useful to replace it, because that part of downtown will just look awful with all those empty stores.

Bridgett from Oak Park  

Posted: April 8th, 2013 10:05 PM

Another business closes in Oak Park...

The dude  

Posted: April 8th, 2013 9:45 PM

That side of the street is going to look a little dead with the Greek place gone, and now this. Whether you like Caribou or not, corner stores sort of act like anchors, and are more obvious when they are empty in comparison to stores in the middle of the street tucked in between other stores that are open. There's also that mens clothing store just around the corner that closed last year... Not a great achievement for what's suppose to be the center of Oak Park.

Caribou Squeezins'  

Posted: April 8th, 2013 6:22 PM

Huh. Caribou community? Is that like that penned up Elk herd out there on Higgins Road?

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