It occurred to me today the coffeehouse I oft-frequented, Caribou Coffee in Glen Ellyn, IL, is closed. I knew it closed last month, but the significance just hit me.
It seems the Peet's Coffee & Tea people bought the Caribou company. Most of the Caribou stores will close, if not already. Some will be converted into Peet's, others, like mine, will be vacated, to eventually house some other, unrelated business. Mine is among those closed for good.
The place had been dwindling. Employees left in droves -- old timers were replaced by people who rotated in and out. The hours were reduced too. I could not longer work late there. It became fast food, so to speak.
A Peet's will open up nearby in another old Caribou in downtown Wheaton, IL. The coffee, I expect, will be better. It can't help but be. Caribou was improving, but was still stuck in the old-school cafe method of not roasting and delivering the same day. This meant the coffee was often stale.
I went because of the atmosphere and people. When I wanted better coffee, I bought from Intelligentsia or I Have a Bean. The people though, were wonderful.
There was Mike, the piano teacher. I talked metaphysical authors with him. And Dave the computer guy. He explained Bitcoin to me. Plus, a myriad of fellow writers, and a group of Russian guys who played dominoes. I didn't know the Russian guys, but I looked forward to the others.
Sooner or later, I met with every friend who lives locally there. Now, I need a new place. Peet's won't do -- that former Caribou is too small and too for any decent conversation. I have other cafes that do much better, like River City Roasters, and the recently open Café K'Tizo.
Oh sure, there are places like Starbucks, and I suppose I wind up there. But where will the others be?
Sooner or later, someplace will settle in as "the place," but for now, I'm wandering.