Sixteen months after plunging into the North Texas market with 10 drive-through Seattle’s Best Coffee locations, Starbucks Corp. has decided to shutter most of the stores. Eight of the drive-throughs should be closed by next month, the company says, while two locations—in Rockwall and Fort Worth—were converted this summer to Starbucks outlets.
The Seattle-based coffee giant entered Dallas-Fort Worth in May of 2013 in a big way, touting the tiny (520 square feet) new prefabricated Seattle’s Best stores as low-priced food-and-drink alternatives to chains like McDonald’s, Dunkin’ Donuts, and 7-Eleven. DFW was the first market outside Seattle to host the prototype stores. Many of them were located in working-class-type neighborhoods, often close to Wal-Marts.
A spokeswoman for Starbucks, which acquired the specialty coffee brand in 2003, declined to blame the closures on poor sales. “There’s still plenty of opportunity in the coffee space,” she said. “We just decided to reinvest in areas where we’re already strong,” such as national accounts and packaged coffee.
The eight locations that will close are in Dallas, Fort Worth, Burleson, Lancaster, and McKinney. Meantime Starbucks is trying to place about 100 DFW employees of Seattle’s Best Coffee in area Starbucks stores, the spokeswoman added. The Seattle’s Best stores were built by DeSoto-based Palomar Modular Buildings LLC, and used high-efficiency ovens from TurboChef Technologies in Carrollton.