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Brewing friendships at Starbucks in Oklahoma City

by Helen Ford Wallace Modified: July 18, 2013 at 8:45 am •  Published: July 17, 2013
 
Clay Healey and Jari Askins wait for coffee drinks at Starbucks. (Photo by Helen Ford Wallace)
The Starbucks Coffee Shop in Nichols Hills is that busy place where workers know the regulars’ names, or least what kind of latte they drink. For one group of customers, it also has been a great place to party and socialize; they get together in the morning and plan evening activities.

These regulars note that this Starbucks is a place where they can have a few minutes of laughs or hours of laughs, and no one cares if you place the same drink order every day.

One of the regulars, Clay Healey, just handed the barista a credit card, didn’t order, didn’t say a word and his coffee was ready in minutes. She knew exactly how he wanted his coffee.

Barista Natalie Greuel, who has been filling orders for the Nichols Hills customers for two years, said that “it’s a great community family here. Everyone is so friendly. Usually we have standing room only. Some come in the morning and work on their computers all day. We are open in the evening too. There are lots of orders for nonfat lattes and our pastry case is always full. People can sit outside at tables on the sidewalk. It is just a great atmosphere.”

Sometimes everyone gets together for morning coffee and evening drinks.

Scott Woolum, another Starbucks regular visitor, knows most of the people who are there in the morning. He reports that some of the group gets together outside of the coffee shop at community events or parties.

Most of them became friends by just talking in the morning over a cup of coffee.

“Recently one of the guys who got married in Hawaii got us together at Packard’s Restaurant for a rooftop party at night to celebrate. There was every age group represented,” Woolum said.

“My friends at Starbucks range in age from 40 to 80,” Scott said. “We tell good jokes, network a little and meet other people most mornings during the week.”

Most of the friends he made at Starbucks frequent the place before heading off to work as a doctor, oil and gas specialist, jet pilot, banker, university professor, golf and country club businessman, medical equipment salesman or liquor store owner.

“There are some retirees there and the police chief drops by several days during the week,” Scott said. “I always see someone I know. I like the ambience and the people in the neighborhood.”

Reggie Wells, a regular Starbucks customer, said Bob Tibbs, 80, is the hub of all of the people who frequent this Starbucks.

“Everyone knows and likes him,” he said.

John Dunn said that he had been coming to this Starbucks for nine years and one of the first people he met was Tibbs.

The coffee house also serves as an office for several people who use the computer hookups and Wi-Fi.

During a recent Friday morning, former gubernatorial candidate Jari Askins got her coffee before heading off to Duncan. Brian Tibbs was going to Wewoka, and Peter Hoffman and Healey were there to work the crowd.

It was a busy day in the neighborhood.

by Helen Ford Wallace
Society Editor
Helen Ford Wallace is a columnist covering society-related events/news for The Oklahoman. She puts local parties online with daily updates. She creates, maintains and runs a Parties blog which includes web casts. She is an online web editor for...
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