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Caribou Coffee Closings: Chain Reveals Massive Nationwide Shutterings, Chicago Area Hit Hard

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Caribou Coffee Co. announced a round of massive closures nationwide, hitting markets in Chicago, Ohio and Michigan particularly hard. (Alamy) | Alamy

Fans of Caribou Coffee Co. received an unwelcome jolt Monday — only it wasn't from caffeine.

The Minneapolis-based chain has announced a round of massive closings nationwide, including plans to close most of its 66 Illinois locations, converting "more than a dozen" into Peet's Coffee & Tea 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,” the company said in a written statement, according to Consumerist.

A Caribou rep told DNAinfo Chicago the city will lose two stores — one in Lincoln Park at 2453 N. Clark St., and the 500 W. Madison St. shop inside the Ogilvie Transportation Center on the Near West Side, while the remaining 14 stores will be re-branded as Peet's.

The metro area will be hit harder, with the Daily Herald reporting Chicagoland stores in Arlington Heights, Palatine, Naperville, Crystal Lake and others will be getting the ax.

The news comes in part of a large-scale closing of 80 stores nation-wide and conversion of 88 into Peet's shops, WGN reports. The company reportedly wants to try a new strategy focusing more on the home market of Minneapolis.

Caribou will disappear in areas like Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Washington D.C., but with the Peet's rebranding, those communities won't be losing a coffee house altogether.

The news came as a shock to Douglas Kwiecinski, manager of a Naperville, Ill. location. Kwiecinski told WGN he was notified of the news during a Friday conference call, offering only nine days notice that he was losing his job.

According to Lakewood Patch, every Caribou store in Ohio is closing. Stores in Michigan, Washington, D.C. and other areas will hit hard as well. Novi Patch reports Caribou responded to an Iowa customer's Facebook query on Friday writing:

"...retail locations in Iowa will remain operating, as well as retail locations in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Western Wisconsin, North Carolina, Kansas and Denver. Closing stores outside of these areas was a tough decision. However, we’re excited to be able to renew our efforts in these markets."

The news comes less than five months after Caribou was sold to Joh. A. Benkiser, German holding company, in a deal valued at about $340 million.

Forbes may have foreshadowed the massive shutterings in December, writing, "To German bean-counters, it may simply not make sense in the long run to maintain two headquarters' staffs and facilities for such similar businesses."

Many fans of the coffee chain expressed their disappointment and anger at the news on Facebook. Currently, Caribou appears to have pulled all the negative reactions to the news from its Facebook page, though HuffPost took several screen grabs of original comments before the company scrubbed its wall.

Earlier on HuffPost:

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