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July 07, 2008

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th

Imagine the drive, hope, and customer connection that would be lost if a store knew that it was going to close. It's strictly business. My store is staying open, thank god, but if my store was going to close...the last 30 days would be horrid. It's funny how "horrible" starbucks is, but every day it is on your mind and runs your life through this website. Let’s use a well known company, criticize them, and make money off of them through advertisement. And That’s a business model?

STARBUCKS GOSSIP WEBMASTER

Gosh, imagine having to inform a customer that he/she is going to find a new Starbucks to frequent! Unthinkable!

>>Imagine the drive, hope, and customer connection that would be lost if a store knew that it was going to close.

Barista of the Millennium

I think Jim is usually pretty fair on this site when it comes to penning a blog. I have been surprised by the open disagreement he has show with this post and the "Starbucks fumbles" approach, but that just shows me how much Jim loves Starbucks and wants to make sure his store remains open.

I agree with other posters that at this point Starbucks cannot win. Anything they do will be dissected and protested. But they have put themselves in that situation.

th

>>Imagine the drive, hope, and customer connection that would be lost if a store knew that it was going to close.

Partners wouldn’t care about the service, quality, or environment which would ultimately turn customers away from the company. Sure it would give you more material to whine about, but as a business… smart move.

shifty

The stores in our district are being notified today about whether they are closing. The store closest to us already got the call telling them they are remaining open... probably not a good sign for us.

brian bauer  #1182341

surprise and delight, peoples!

Drive, He Said

Jim, I had that exact same thought when I first read that idiotic "respect" line. It is hardly respectful to keep people wondering. It is always better to know, even when the news is bad. Starbucks is screwing up bigtime.

truth

Deceit is respect. It's just a derivation of "up is down".

PR 101.

Mike

I can't help but think this is being a little mis-construed. The message I have heard is that there is not going to be a list given to the public UNTIL the store partners are notified out of respect for the partners. I just got off the phone 10 minutes ago with my DM and the story hasn't changed. Every SM in our region will receive a phone call as soon as the official list comes down, letting us know whether we are being closed or staying open. From what I understand, this will be done company-wide so partners aren't on pins and needles potentially for up to nine months. Originally we were told the phone calls were being done this Friday, but now my DM says potentially by Wednesday or Thursday if the list is available, stores will be notified.

truth

Also, seems like compiling a list of store closures would be a sweet way to drive site traffic.

Just an idea.

thatgirl

wow, jim. can't say i blame you for feeling the way you do, but your hatred of starbucks' recent actions is quite something... i always considered this blog fairly neutral, but i guess not!

Lee

That "loss of drive" is inevitable once staff know a store is closing. It's not like the stores will close the moment the announcement is made. So why delay the inevitable? Why not give the employees as much time as possible to figure out what to do next? That's just basic decency.

cupajoe

Given that the share price today is at $14.92, don't you think that pessimism by the customer, as well as less foot traffic, makes these closures a great idea. Most of the stores that are closing have been wrongly opened in the last year. Howard has to come in and be the bad guy, but these are stores that never should have been opened in the first place.

Imagine if these stores were never opened. Imagine what same store sales would be as a whole for the company on average!! Imagine where the share price could be!

Westcoast Barista

Wow, some of you REALLY have to cut the Kool-Aid cold turkey because it's seriously impairing your judgment!

Corporate has dropped the ball again big time with their bush league communications. Instead of we partners being the gutless corporate lackeys, it is imperative for us to make our voice heard by providing open and honest constructive criticism as to help try and prevent some of this disastrous decision making in the future.

For example, if I'm stationed at DTC and a customer asks me how I feel about a corporate decision like the pulling of the breakfast sandwich, I will respond by telling them that I honestly don't agree with it, and then give my reasons why. Sure, I can provide the customers with the pabulum of meaningless small talk, but they much prefer spending 60 to 90 seconds hearing some insightful commentary as opposed to being fed some pre-programmed drivel.

And until both we act the same way as partners as well as Howard lending an open ear to us, the company will continue to slide in the same downward direction.

Tired of PR BS

Well in the Syracuse, NY market, the Sweetheart Corners store, the Cicero store on Rt. 11, and the Carrier Circle stores will be closing. That is three stores out of eight in the area. I understand three more will be closing in the Rochester area as well.

AliCat

"Partners wouldn’t care about the service, quality, or environment which would ultimately turn customers away from the company. Sure it would give you more material to whine about, but as a business… smart move."

Not necessarily true. My old was a very busy store in Chicago and we closed because they're building a condo where our store was. We knew the closing date MONTHS in advance and right up until the day we closed, we continued giving legendary service and it was almost like we wanted to share our store with people that much more before our final day. We upped the service so people would have something good to remember. A few of us transferred but most people separated from the company. Give the partners a little more credit.

Edward K

We heard through our DM today that we're staying open, but that 3 stores in our district *alone* are going to close, 13 altogether in our "Area".. quite a few if you ask me!

I think part of the reason they aren't releasing a list is that Starbucks fears it would lose money if customers knew a store was closing and fears pissing them off, but it's gonna happen at some point, ya know? i think its good business sense to go ahead and tell everyone involved (customers too) out of respect for partners and their regulars. Starbucks is probably screwed any way it goes, though, if you think about it. No one's gonna be happy with however they handle it.

It would be nice though just to see them make a business decision out of respect instead of MONEY.

EK

cupajoe

To Edward K:

You are looking for a decision to be made out of "respect." The share price is tumbling and Howard is trying to save the company from going any lower and you're worried about respect. When it comes down to it, it really is all about the money. Without sustaining profit, there would be no sbux.

You can batter about yourselves as to hurt feelings and where are the ones who lost their job going to go, when actually these stores should have never been opened in the first place and these employees should have never been hired in the first place.

If feelings are hurt, so be it. It really does come down to THE SHAREHOLDERS!!! Which most partners are, and they should be concerned about the share price.

I have lost about $300,000 in the last two years but I am not selling because I still believe in the company. They have gone astray, but that was under someone elses leadership.

Onward Howard

Stan

"It really does come down to THE SHAREHOLDERS!!!"

No, it really comes down to the customers.

Without the customers there is no Starbucks.

KanakaKope

How is it respectful to leave 155,000 partners in limbo, wondering how much longer they'll have a job? Keeping this list a secret brought our stock price down to 14.83 today... As for losing drive, connection, etc... The store down the freeway from mine (Albert Lea) has just been put on notice, and I have never seen a greater showing of support from their partners or customers.

Mark my words, the fear of losing their jobs will create a greater exodus in turnover than the layoffs would. Just make the list public so we can sleep at night.

KanakaKope

Wouldn't it be more respectful to tell us we won't have a job much longer?

blindsided

i just recently learned my store and my old store in the same town are closing. There will only be one store left in the area under an hour away and was actually just recently fully staffed by newbies. I was supposed to move in two months and transfer to a store. I had been guaranteed my full time position at the new store. i have now been told that they will no longer honor the former promise because four stores in their area are closing and they are first priority.

So after two years of true legendary service i am getting the boot. No matter that my store was always above the percents of the top 10 stores in the nation or that we were not actually given a chance.

thank you howard shultz. thank you for screwing me over.

Stan

Starbucks is just doing the "Thomson First Call" shuffle.

They fell into that trap and now the only thing that matters is the next conference call. It is just the next 3 months they are focused on. Long term planning has gone by the wayside. Employee and customer relations now have no meaning, just the brokerages, investment bankers, traders, and other investment professionals.

SEADAVE

It's almost as if Starbucks is unsure of which stores it is going to close. Confusion reigns at Corporate. I say if a store is losing money, why delay? To borrow a line from Dan Savage, DTMFA.

Oh yeah, because we're locked into an overpriced lease... can't afford to close the money-losing store because we'll lose even more money. Is that it?

Whatever....

latte lover

Develop enthusiastically satisfied customers all of the time.....

I'm a customer (and shareholder), and from my perspective, I just want my coffee and to be serviced. I would be upset if I drove up to my local Starbucks only to have the lights off and no one home.

I would like to see a letter or something, posted in the store from Howard or the store manager. Say thank you for my support and business. Sorry, we're closing. And the nearest store to continue your Starbucks experience is XXXXX.

This whole secret thing is not only bad for partners, but leaves customers with no easy way to keep being Starbucks customers.

IMHO.

coffeeguy

Have anyone been notified yet for the closing here in minnesota???

Alethea

Each store that is closing seems to be getting sufficient notice (at least 30 days?), which means the customers and partners are also getting notice. It's not like you head to work one day and your store is closed. I don't think the list is a "secret", I just don't see any need for a company to put all it's eggs in one basket by announcing which stores might close months before the actual decision is made...it makes sense to close just a few (say, 50) at a time and continue to analyze business.
I'm sure it royally sucks to be laid off, but at least the partners losing their jobs are getting notice and severance, that's more than most partners give their employers and more than the company actually has to give you.

SoCalRocks!

Jeez can we take a week before releasing the info to the public? I am shocked at the level of impatience from partners, customers, bloggers, and reporters.

We work on the company's timetable, and we're doing a pretty decent job seeing as though it has been less than a week.

Let's have some patience, people!

viet coffee

WORKING TOGETHER -- STRAT PLANNING & PR

Seattle; May 13, 2008
A Message from Howard - Our 2008 Starbucks Leadership Conference

Seattle; July 1, 2008
Starbucks Increases Number of US Company-Operated Store Closures as Part of Transformation Strategy

truth

The stocks very weak performance on the heels of the closing/layoff announcement shows one of two things: 1) the price is being artificially manipulated down OR 2)any kind of technical support has been blown out the door. Or possibly more bad news coming short term?

Stocks usually don't react this way on what should be good news on the investor's side. They just don't.

The thin volume tells me it's manipulation, but still, it's a big problem. The option activity says it should be pinned at $15 for awhile.

If it goes much lower, the floor could become a trap door.

NOWHINERS

Let me get this straight - you're saying it would be better to let people know they may be losing their jobs with a broadcast corporate email?? Howard wants to look people in the eye when he delivers this news, and I respect that. I cannot believe that someone on this site actually held up Home Depot as an example of corporate responsibility. Lay off thousands by hitting 'send,' nice. That would have gone over real well on this website.

If you think you're so right about how to run a business, why not go start your own empire? Yeah, that's what I thought. Budweiser is getting taken over by the Belgians. I would rather not see that happen to Starbucks. Maybe we should start supporting US businesses instead of slamming their every move.

And to the person who referred to this economy as a "depression" earlier, I'm interested to know if you were around for the last one. If not, I suggest you seek out someone who was and ask them to explain it. Better yet, feel free to visit any of a number of countries on this earth where you can't find a hundred kinds of snack chips on the aisles of 14 grocery stores within five miles of your house.

truth

If sbux mgmt or its minions are surprised at the anger around the announcement, then it just shows how far from the customer they truly have become.

PR 101: Get the news out.

job hunting barista in SoCal

Has any one else had the DM tell the SM not to do a schedule?? My store is supposedly not closing-along with ALL the other stores in my RDO's area-yet my SM was told to hold off on the next schedule...

Anyone else ever heard of this happening?

SEADAVE

Posted by: NOWHINERS | Jul 7, 2008 1:07:48 PM

Howard wants to look people in the eye when he delivers this news, and I respect that.

Let's see a "show of hands". Of those partners who have been told that their store is one that is closing how many were told this by Howard as he looked them in the eye?

Lay off thousands by hitting 'send,' nice.

Has anyone really suggested that "pink slips" be delivered by email? Where did you get this idea?

Starbucks was the one who let the "600 stores closing" cat out of the bag.

KanakaKope

SOCAL-
The only time I've ever been told to do that was when my VTI was varying from week to week so much that they needed a better estimate of the forecasted hours. The hours of a schedule generated closer to a specific week would be more in line because the forecast is based on six weeks' previous sales.

Bob "Pat Nerr" Slydell

"We find it's always better to fire people on a Friday. Studies have statistically shown that there's less chance of an incident if you do it at the end of the week."

Brandon

To the guy who asked about MN, my store in Blaine, as well as 3 in Coon Rapids are closing...

coffeedude

how about stories in the st. louis region? not as overbuilt as some, but worried still.

JAVAJUNKIE

The Forest Promenade store in Staten Island, NY is closing.

OHpartner

Why is everyone going crazy? The stores that are closing this month have found out already. The rest will find out by Friday. Our DM hasn't even been able to get in contact with some partners at the store closing in our area because they are out of town. Why should you find out before they do about their store? Just be patient. After partners find out, everyone else will. Also for everyone freaking out, ask your sm if the store is has a positive number in the total contribution line of your p&l, if its positive you probably aren't closing.

job hunting barista in SoCal

Kanakakope-
Thanks for the info. I'd never encountered that before so, given the situation, my imagination was getting the better of me. ;)

Mike

I knew this whole scenario was playing out like a movie -- Office Space! Great movie. We could do a re-make, but instead of beating the hell out of a printer we could grab a Verismo and take a bat to it!

StLouieDrip

@Coffeedude, sorry, but STL is not exempt. Someone in another thread wrote this about STL.

Lots of stores closing in St Louis -370 & Elm, 94 & O'fallon, srk & Weldon (?) srn & 64, Lucas & Hunt, Howdershell & Dunn, Clayton & Baxter, Telegraph & Erb..... More to come Monday and Tuesday.

I just can't figure out what is "srk" and "srn"?

Darleen

You can batter about yourselves as to hurt feelings and where are the ones who lost their job going to go, when actually these stores should have never been opened in the first place and these employees should have never been hired in the first place.

If feelings are hurt, so be it. It really does come down to THE SHAREHOLDERS!!!

Cupajoe,
You really couldn't be more wrong, in my opinion. While shareholders have great importance, it is not all about them. I'm sorry that you feel it should be. Many customers are not shareholders, it is still about them. It is still about partners, we all share in this together. As it should be.

Darleen

To borrow a line from Dan Savage, DTMFA.

Ahhh, Seadave, you crack me up! DTMFA, I hope it is done more respectfully but in this stressful time, it was nice to get a good chuckle! Thank you!

Darleen

We knew the closing date MONTHS in advance and right up until the day we closed, we continued giving legendary service and it was almost like we wanted to share our store with people that much more before our final day. We upped the service so people would have something good to remember. A few of us transferred but most people separated from the company. Give the partners a little more credit.

Alicat, You rock! I hope you are shown much respect in your store, you are truly what we call legendary. Thank you for having such passion and sharing it with your customers. Stay strong, this too shall pass.

Pat Nerr

"Stay strong, this too shall pass"

much like a kidney stone... and s painful. Stock under 15 bucks today

Coffeelover

Well it is very hard being the largest Coffee Company in the world and I love how much people can judge what is being done. Just remember the grass is always greener on the other side, your not the one running the business and I bet you couldn't do what is being done. Does it really make sense in a company of this size to release the fact they are closing stores, then provide partners with that information without it leaking to the press first, then tell each of the 600 stores that are on the list and share that with thousands of customers? Is there a correct way to do any of this? Have mistakes been made, YES. So hats off to those who are working hard to fix it and get it all back to the way it should be. I wish there was an easy way for all of this to take place and not effect anyone or anything in a bad way, but this is the real world.


Kayla

We got the news today we have a mandatory meeting on Wednesday between 6-7pm, with our DM.

So much for our glimmer of hope as we are the only Starbucks in our city.

Here's to staying until the doors close on me.


anon-1

I am a Starbucks customer.
Please fill me in. I am lost.

I live in WV and the first Starbucks in my state opened in 2003 or 2004. Then the second Starbucks opened in 2005, 20 miles away.

When did Starbucks go downhill? As a customer, I did not notice anything.
When did they start going from manual to automatic machines? When did they start using pods? Did all this happened before 2004?

There is a Starbucks in my area and I enjoy it.

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