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Caribou Coffee to close Batavia store, rebrand Geneva store

Published: Monday, April 8, 2013 5:09 p.m. CDT • Updated: Tuesday, April 9, 2013 6:45 a.m. CDT

One local coffeehouse will close and another will be rebranded as a result of a decision by the owners of the Caribou Coffee chain to end Caribou's presence in the Chicago market.

Monday, employees at the Caribou store in Dodson Place on Third Street in Geneva said that store will remain open, and will be rebranded as a Peet's Coffee and Tea "in the next 12 to 18 months."

However, an employee who answered the phone at the Caribou store at Randall Road and McKee Street in Batavia said that store will be among dozens of Chicago area stores the company said it intends to close.

Late last week, Minneapolis-based Caribou informed its workers that it intended to close dozens of stores in its service area, with many of the closures coming to stores in the Chicago area.

Those stores are scheduled to close at noon Sunday. The closures were expected to result in hundreds of workers losing jobs chainwide.

The company Monday publicly confirmed that news, indicating only a handful of stores in the Chicago area would remain open under the Caribou brand until they can be rebranded under the name of Peet's Coffee.

Peet's Coffee and Tea, with corporate headquarters in San Francisco, operates stores throughout California, and in Washington, Oregon, Colorado and Massachusetts.

Peet's also operates a coffeehouse in Chicago and another in Evanston, according to its website. Batavia Mayor Jeff Schielke said he was surprised to hear the Batavia store was closing.

"I think it's been a popular place," Schielke said. "I've not seen them lacking for business."

The closures were announced as Caribou undergoes changes after it was acquired by German investment firm Joh. A. Benckiser.

While Caribou will leave the Chicago market, it will continue to operate more than 400 stores elsewhere in the Midwest and Great Plains, with locations in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa and North and South Dakota, among other states.

• Kane County Chronicle reporter Eric Schelkopf contributed to this report.

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