Caribou Coffee to close five stores in metro Milwaukee

Paul Gores

April 8, 2013

Five Caribou Coffee stores in the metro Milwaukee area, including two in Brookfield, are set to close next Sunday as part of a nationwide paring of the Minneapolis-based chain's locations, the company and employees said Monday.

In all, 80 "underperforming stores" in the U.S. will close on Sunday, the company said in a statement.

According to the company's customer service department and employees, the shops scheduled to close at noon on Sunday include: 12455 W. Capitol Drive, Brookfield; 17385 W. Blue Mound Road, Brookfield; 11104 N. Port Washington Road, Mequon; 6035 Durand Ave., Racine; and 5600 N. Bayshore Drive, Glendale.

Employees said the Caribou Coffee shops at 1980 Meadow Lane in Pewaukee and 418 N. Mayfair Road will remain open.

Caribou was purchased in January by Joh. A. Benckiser Group, a German investment firm, for $340 million. Benckiser also holds a majority stake in Peet's Coffee & Tea Inc. Before the purchase, Caribou reported it had more than 600 shops.

"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," Mike Tattersfield, president and chief executive of Caribou Coffee, said in an emailed statement. "With that, we will be closing 80 underperforming stores on April 14th, 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."

A customer service representative said the five Milwaukee-area stores marked for closing are the only stores in Wisconsin scheduled to be shut down.

Caribou's website shows there are 18 Caribou coffee shops in Wisconsin. Most are in communities west of the Milwaukee area, such as Lake Geneva, Madison and Eau Claire. Information on how many Wisconsin stores Caribou would convert to Peet's wasn't available Monday.

After the closings, Caribou Coffee will be made up of 468 locations across Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, western Wisconsin, Iowa, Kansas, North Carolina, Denver and 10 international markets," the company 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," Tattersfield said.

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