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Virginia Caribou Coffee shops to convert, others close

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) — A popular coffee company is closing some of its stores and converting others, including some in Virginia.

Some of the locations will reopen as “Peet’s Coffee and Tea.” Caribou employees can reapply for jobs at those stores.

There are 17 stores in Virginia, the only ones located in Richmond is at the airport. Director of Marketing and Air Service Development for RIC, Troy Bell, said that the airport locations will be unaffected by the changes.

They will not close or convert to another brand. Delaware North Companies, the food and beverage operators at RIC, have license to operate under the Caribou Coffee brand locally, and elsewhere.

Caribou released a statement on Monday saying that they will close 80 under-performing stores on April 14th, and an additional 88 coffeehouses across Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Washington D.C., Maryland, Virginia, Georgia, Illinois and Eastern Wisconsin will be converted to Peet’s Coffee & Tea locations over the next 12 to 18 months.

“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 press release states that 468 locations will remain open, throughout Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Western Wisconsin, Iowa, Kansas, North Carolina, Denver, and ten international markets.

“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,”  the release read.

Customers who have Caribou gift cards will still be able to use them at CaribouCoffee.com, the company said on Twitter. It was referring all consumer questions to the toll-free number 888-Caribou (888-227-4268).

As of 2009, Caribou employed more than 6,000 people and had 2009 revenue of $262 million. The company, founded in 1992, was taken private in a $340 million deal in December 2012 by German equity company Joh.A.Benckiser Group, which also owns Peet’s.

Starbucks, the king of the coffee forest, reported revenue of $13.3 billion in fiscal year 2012.

Fans of the rustic-themed Caribou coffee shops reacted Monday with dismay, with a certain amount of anger stirred in.

A Facebook page has been created calling for a ban on Caribou Coffee, taking up the frustration that the company only gave 9-days’ notice to employees while the shop considers itself a community place.

Click on the video for more information from CBS 6 Chicago affiliates.

***CNN reporting contributed to this report.

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