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Closings make mocha taste bittersweet

By Jim Stafford Published: July 9, 2008

/> "It's sad; I'm going to cry,” said a young woman as she operated the espresso machine. "You guys are all really great to work with.”

The Starbucks media relations office in Seattle did not return my call Tuesday afternoon to confirm the Oklahoma closings and their locations. Starbucks operates 7,200 company-owned stores nationwide and another 4,000 or so licensed shops operated by retailers such as Target stores.

As it turns out, the closing of a dozen Oklahoma City area stores leaves plenty of options for Starbucks coffee addicts like myself.

It's difficult to determine exactly how many stores the company operates in the metro, but an independent Web site called on Tuesday listed 29 company owned stores, plus another 12 that were licensed stores.

Still, the mocha tasted a little bittersweet as I pulled out of the Starbucks parking lot Tuesday knowing that the store's days are numbered and dwindling fast.

I'm a regular, I told them, even if it's usually just a quick pass through the drive-through.

"Everybody who comes here is a regular,” said the Starbucks employee who passed the mocha across the counter to me. "It's like this is a store for regulars. It's part of their routine.”