The Starbucks on Main Avenue in downtown Durango is closing.
“As part of Starbucks standard course of business, we continually evaluate our business to ensure a healthy store portfolio,” a spokesperson wrote in an emailed statement Monday. “After careful consideration, we’ve determined it is best to close the store ... this spring.”
Starbucks has been located at 558 Main Ave. since opening in 2005, which at the time, was the first location in Durango for the popular chain coffee shop.
“As difficult as this is, we must make the right business decisions for the sake of Starbucks long-term growth,” the spokesperson said. “We’re proud to be a member of the Durango community and appreciate the outpouring of support we’ve seen from the community.”
The spokesperson added that any employees working at the store will have the opportunity to transfer to other locations in the area. There are four other Starbucks locations in Durango: City Markets south and north, Albertsons and a standalone shop at 2817 Main Ave.
Amy Jackson, the property manager for Rio Grande Properties and Lands, which is the landlord for the Starbucks’ downtown location, said she recently received a letter from Starbucks’ corporate office that said the coffee shop will not renew its lease this year, which expires May 15.
Since news has spread about the coffee shop closing, a petition has circulated trying to save the downtown location. As of Monday morning, more than 250 people had signed it.
The petition, started by Bayfield resident Katie Barthel, says Starbucks is closing because of issues with Rio Grande Properties and Lands over needed repairs on the building.
Jackson said that is not true, and after she received the letter from corporate, she even tried to work with Starbucks to find a way to keep the location open. The Starbucks spokesperson did not respond to questions seeking follow-up information.
“We love having Starbucks there,” Jackson said. “I really took a hit when they said they were leaving. It hurt me a little bit. But it’s business, and they have their reasons.”
Efforts to reach Barthel for comment for this story were unsuccessful.
Tim Walsworth, director of the Durango Business Improvement District, said the news was a bit of a shock, especially because the location always seemed crowded and was located right next to the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, which brings in thousands of tourists.
“It’s surprising because you don’t see a Starbucks close very often,” he said. “But there’s a lot of factors that go into a business staying open or not.”
Starbucks has had a strange relationship with Durango over the years.
The month Starbucks opened, the store was subject to an onslaught of vandalism from people resistant to the corporate coffee giant.
First, someone urinated on the store’s window and put gum on the lock of the front door. Two days later, the same window was spray-painted with obscenities and the phrase: “go back to Seattle you corporate scum.”
Then, someone shattered the store’s front window with a rock.
But slowly, Starbucks earned its place in Durango, becoming a favorite coffee shop for many, Jackson said. The petition to keep it open is further proof people have come to embrace the chain.
“It’s ironic to think about,” Jackson said.
And despite Starbucks dominance, local Durango coffee shops have thrived. In downtown Durango alone, there’s a number of locally owned coffee shops, including Magpie’s Newsstand Cafe, Durango Coffee Co., Hermosa Coffee Roasters, Animas Chocolate & Coffee Co. and Durango Joe’s, to name a few.
“There are a ton of great local coffee options downtown to get your coffee fix,” Walsworth said.
Jackson said she will look for a new tenant in the prime downtown location in coming weeks.