Caribou Coffee soon will be no more in Ohio, with the state’s 32 locations either closing or converting to Peet’s Coffee & Tea within the coming months.
Locations in Akron, Hudson and Solon will survive a series of store closings by the Minnesota-based company, but the Belden Village and Macedonia locations will close Sunday. Local stores that are staying open will close temporarily to convert to Peet’s Coffee & Tea locations within the next few months.
On Monday, Mike Tattersfield, Caribou president and CEO, issued this statement: “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. With that, we will be closing 80 underperforming stores on April 14, and an additional 88 coffeehouses across Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Washington, D.C., Maryland, Virginia, Georgia, Illinois and Eastern Wisconsin will be converted to Peet’s Coffee & Tea locations over the next 12 to 18 months.”
The company did not release a list of which shops would close and which would convert.
However, Tattersfield’s statement said after the changes, Caribou would operate 468 locations in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Western Wisconsin, Iowa, Kansas, North Carolina, Denver and 10 international markets, an indication that all of the Ohio stores would close or convert.
Store employees were informed Friday about the changes and since then details have been coming from employees, customers and social media.
Managers contacted at several local shops gave out a toll-free number for inquiries, 888-caribou (227-4268). The number connected callers to a customer service line where a representative provided information — intended for consumers, not media — about which shops would stay open and which would close.
The representative said locations in Akron, Hudson, Solon and Lakewood would remain open, but Canton and Macedonia would close. Those remaining open would convert to Peet’s Coffee & Tea shops within 12 to 18 months, a person said.
Outstanding gift cards would be honored at open locations, but they will not be honored once those locations convert to Peet’s, she said. However, anyone is free to register a gift card online at Caribou’s website, www.cariboucoffee.com and, once registered, request a refund of the card balance, the consumer representative said.
A manager at the Akron store said she was not permitted to speak with the media, referring calls to the corporate office. However, the manager told customers, when asked, that the store would remain open for another six to eight weeks, then close and reopen as a Peet’s about a month later.
Bob Cooper of CBRE, the leasing agent for the building, said the Akron shop has been at its Wallhaven location at North Hawkins Avenue and West Market Street for nine years.
Caribou, headquartered in Brooklyn Center, Minn., was purchased five months ago by the German conglomerate Joh. A. Benckiser Group for $340 million, taking the once-publicly traded company private. Benckiser earlier in 2012 also bought California-based Peet’s for almost $1 billion.
Lisa Abraham can be reached at 330-996-3737 or at email@example.com.