Recovered from the Wayback Machine.
For this week’s recap of Missouri news, I’m going to focus on one event that is both trivial and profound: the closure of 16 Starbucks in the St. Louis area.
First, some context. Bob Sutor provides a link to a PDF listing all of the closures, nationally. Bill Greer at Off the Map has taken this data and mapped the location, as well as providing analysis of most impacted areas. As you can see from his list, though we didn’t have the most closures, we’re probably one of the most impacted per capita.
One of the Starbucks being closed in this area is also the closest to where I live. However, I go to another store anyway, because it’s closer to where I walk. Of course, I stopped going to Starbucks, and therein lies the profound nature of this event.
It’s not surprising that the Starbucks stores haven’t been doing as well in St. Louis. We don’t have the highest unemployment rate, but we do have unemployment beyond the national average: we’re now at over 6% unemployed and rising, aided and abetted by the closure of these stores.
However, high unemployment doesn’t necessarily mean that a luxury food store like Starbucks is going to be impacted. After all, when a people have little money for new TVs or cars, they can still escape the circumstances of their lives with the illusion of wealth by buying a tiny box of chocolates at Godiva, or a Starbuck’s White Mocha.
This year, though, even the few dollars that might go for these small luxuries are being eaten up by food prices that shock every time we go to the store, as well as gas prices that leave all quiet and subdued at the pumps.
Instead of Starbucks, we’re going to McDonald’s for a hot cup of coffee, or bringing our own home brewed, as we head to the Zoo, Art Museum, Arch, or other free, and most importantly, local spot; to spend time with family or friends, or our own thoughts. To find comfort in things that don’t require credit cards.
It’s difficult to hear of yet more closures in St. Louis. Will the last person leaving St. Louis, please remember to pull the plug on the Mississippi. However, there is a sanity to the lifestyle changes we’re having to make. Someday, when this is all behind us, forgive me if I hope these closed Starbucks stores never return.