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Caribou Coffee to pull out of Chicago market

Published: Tuesday, April 9, 2013 10:17 a.m. CST

(MCT) — Caribou Coffee is quitting Illinois.

The Minneapolis-based cafe chain will close the majority of its 66 Illinois locations, converting more than a dozen to Peet's Coffee & Tea shops over the next 12 to 18 months. Closures will take effect Sunday at noon.

The company did not immediately respond to requests for a list of stores affected by the closures. Most downtown Chicago locations, with the exception of the North Western Train Station, will remain open.

Employees in Arlington Heights, Glenview, Rolling Meadows, Vernon Hills, Hoffman Estates and Schaumburg said their stores will be closing Sunday.

Cafes slated to convert to Peet's include Long Grove, Wheaton, Lake Forest, Northbrook and Winnetka, according to employees there on Monday.

Caribou was taken private in a $340 million deal with Joh. A. Benkiser, a German investment company, this year. All told, the new owner will close 80 stores, and convert another 88 into Peet's Coffee & Tea. After the closures and remodels, Caribou will have 486 locations in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Western Wisconsin, Iowa, Kansas, North Carolina, Denver, and 10 international markets, the company said Monday.

"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," Caribou President Mike Tattersfield said in a statement. "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."

A local store employee who asked not to be identified estimated that about 1,000 people will lose their jobs as a result of the closings on Sunday.

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©2013 Chicago Tribune

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