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The last sipper! Starbucks man loses his fight to save Ridge store

The Brooklyn Paper
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Starbucks just served one of its most-loyal customers a double shot of disappointment.

The announcement by the Seattle-based java giant that it would close a beloved Bay Ridge branch was a bitter blow to regular Andrew El-Kadi — but it was nothing compared to the coffee corporation’s complete disregard for the 247 signatures El-Kadi gathered on petitions to keep the Third Avenue shop open.

“I’m saddened,” said El-Kadi, who lives two doors away from the 84th Street location and visited it nearly daily since it opened in January for his double shot of espresso, served over ice with a splash of two-percent milk.

“They have the nicest decor, the best staff, and they get your drink right — which, lately, is a real rarity among Starbucks stores,” he added.

After hearing that the store would close on Sept. 26, El-Kadi fashioned himself into a one-man preservation band, enlisting local latte loyalists to sign onto his campaign to save the store, the youngest of four Starbucks in the neighborhood.

But Starbucks wasn’t interested in retaining the shop — one of 600 nationwide that will be shuttered. In fact, Starbucks execs weren’t even interested in giving El-Kadi the time of day.

The mocha maniac tried to contact at least seven Starbucks high-ups to discuss his petition and attempt to convince them to keep coffee flowing on Third Avenue, but he never heard back — not even a “Wake up and smell the coffee, Andrew.”

The lack of response from Starbucks compelled El-Kadi to sell his stocks in the company that he relies on for 450 milligrams of caffeine daily.

“I’m usually anti big business, but for the most part, Starbucks has been pretty ethical,” said El-Kadi, whose other activism includes anti-war struggles. “But in seeing how they dealt with this, they want to be treated like a local business, but they behave like a corporation.”

A Starbucks spokeswoman told The Brooklyn Paper that the company appreciated El-Kadi’s efforts to keep the branch open.

“We are humbled by the support we’ve received from our partners and customers regarding the closure of our stores,” the spokeswoman said in a statement. “We recognize the impact this announcement has had on the communities where we operate and value the feedback.”

But El-Kadi has a hard time swallowing the huge corporation’s response, and he’s starting to see protesting against corporations as a venti-sized cup that’s half empty.

“This whole situation discourages me from showing enthusiasm about a corporation, and more than anything, this campaign has shown me the kind of corporation that Starbucks is,” said El-Kadi, who says he will satisfy his caffeine cravings at a Starbucks near his Brooklyn Heights office, or at the Little Cupcake Bakeshop at 91st Street.

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Reader Feedback

Craig from Bay Ridge says:
He should go across the street from that Starbucks and go to Caffe Cafe. They have terrific coffee and outdoor seating.
Sept. 24, 2008, 1:41 pm
BayRidgeBeau from Bay Ridge says:
actually he's screwed. caffe cafe is kinda expensive. love their iced coffee with banana syrup in it but it's like $3.50 for somethin that looks like what starbucks sells as a small (tall?).

it's a cool place but not the place to be grabbin a coffee or iced espresso drink on the go - too pricey
Sept. 24, 2008, 7:08 pm
Ron from Bay Ridge says:
Don't forget all those over-the-hill motorcycle dudes who hang out all day and act like they own the place!
Sept. 24, 2008, 8:12 pm
Bob from Bay Ridge says:
My opinion: Caffe Cafe is overpriced and qualitatively hit-or-miss.
I went there off & on for 2 years, for lack of an alternative, but switched when this Starbucks opened. Once this place closes, I'll either go to another S'bucks or get a cheaper, undeluxe cup of coffee elsewhere. But not at C. Cafe.
Sept. 28, 2008, 3:25 pm

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