The coffee giant is ending its experiment with retail outlets for Evolution Fresh, but it plans to continue bottling and selling packaged juices under that brand.
Starbucks is closing the remaining two Evolution Fresh stores, though the company will continue to produce the packaged juices sold under that brand name.
The Evolution Fresh location on Seattle’s Pine Street will close March 3, while the one in University Village will close at the end of June.
The decision to close the stores “will allow Evolution Fresh to sharpen its strategic focus on the most successful, dynamic segment of the Evolution Fresh business, our ready-to-drink juice business,” Starbucks said in a statement.
Evolution Fresh packaged juices will continue to be sold at Starbucks and grocery stores.
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The coffee giant bought juice company Evolution Fresh in 2011 for $30 million, intending to roll out the juices in its coffee shops nationwide and to include them in new Evolution Fresh stores.
The company opened four such stores in 2012, in Bellevue, downtown Seattle, San Francisco, and in Seattle’s University Village. The stores served juices and smoothies as well as prepared foods including salads, grain-based bowls and soups.
Starbucks closed the San Francisco location in 2015 and the Bellevue location last September.
Evolution Fresh is not the first company Starbucks has purchased with aspirations of launching new-concept stores, only to later close or downsize them.
In 2012, Starbucks bought the small bakery chain La Boulange for $100 million. In 2015, it closed all 23 retail locations, saying they didn’t fit in with the company’s long-term growth targets. Starbucks still contracts with local commercial bakeries to bake goods for traditional Starbucks stores using La Boulange recipes.
Also in 2012, Starbucks bought Teavana for $620 million; the following year it opened a few tea bars. Early last year, the coffee company essentially pulled the plug on the Teavana tea bars, saying it would turn three of them, all in New York, into Starbucks stores and close a fourth in Beverly Hills. The tea bar in University Village, as well as the many Teavana mall stores, remain open.
Starbucks is focusing its efforts now on the high-end of the coffee-shop business, with plans to open more Roasteries — the company’s expansive showpieces, and to launch Reserve stores, smaller cafes that will feature the company’s small-lot premium Reserve beans and different brewing methods.