The Starbucks on 34th and Chestnut streets is scheduled to close in the first week of December. A group of Penn Law School students, however, is determined not to let that happen.
To try and save the coffee shop that provides many members of the Penn Law community their daily coffee dosage, Penn Law student Mike Machado created a petition.
As of Nov. 14, the petition had 116 signatures, with signees ranging from Penn Law and undergraduate students to residents of Domus Apartments, which is located on the 3400 block of Chestnut Street. Machado said he has frequented the Starbucks on 34th and Chestnut every morning of the week since August 2017.
Starbucks spokesperson Reggie Borges said he is aware of the petition, but that the decision to close the store was the result of a number of different factors. He especially noted the close proximity of three other Starbucks stores near the 34th and Chestnut location, including those located at 34th and Walnut, 32nd and Market, and 34th and Lancaster. Another popular Starbucks for undergraduate students is located on 39th and Walnut.
“We by no means are leaving the University of Pennsylvania neighborhood,” Borges said in an interview with The Daily Pennsylvanian. “At this moment, we feel really good about the stores that are in that location now and that general area.”
According to the petition and a Starbucks employee, the Starbucks plans to close Dec. 2, but a flyer passed around the store said the store would close Dec. 3. An official spokesperson for Starbucks did not respond to request for clarification.
The petition argues that nearby Starbucks stores are already overburdened, and it emphasizes the significance of the employee-customer relationships that have been created at the 34th and Chestnut location.
“Morning or night, none of us are particularly eager to wait very long for drinks, nor do we wish to do so while packed tightly together like sardines,” Machado wrote in the petition description. “[The partners] provide an escape from daily law school life and give us a chance to connect with real people who work in our community.”
Machado said he heard about the closing from a Starbucks employee. For many signees, the employees are what make the location unique.
“The 34th and Chestnut Starbucks is my favorite Starbucks in the area because the staff cares about its customers,” Penn Law Facilities and Sustainability Coordinator Jake Mattera said. “Other area Starbucks can feel like your order is an imposition, and they rush you out like a disgruntled assembly line.”
Penn Law Assistant Director Natalie Green, who picks up her afternoon Starbucks at the 34th and Chestnut location with colleagues every day, agreed, adding that it would be unfortunate if the location closes.
“The Starbucks team at the 34th and Chestnut location are efficient, friendly, and welcoming,” Green said.
Borges, however, said he is confident customers who currently visit the 34th and Chestnut store will have just as good an experience, if not better, at the other Starbucks locations on campus. He added that all 34th and Chestnut "partners" will be relocated to other store locations.
Although Machado said the petition will probably not accomplish anything, he said he hopes the signatures show the employees, whom he calls his “morning team,” that they are a valued part of the community.
“One of the Chestnut employees noted that her favorite customers and coworkers are the only real family she’s ever had,” Machado wrote in the petition description. “Our impact evidently is greater than simply paying for a pumpkin spiced latte.”
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