Starbucks has announced that it will close 23 separate La Boulange Cafes and one Evolution Fresh store in San Francisco / Bay area. Starbucks will close the two La Boulange manufacturing plants also. The Wall Street Journal has the complete story. Pascal Rigo, the founder of La Boulange, will leave Starbucks. I know for myself, and probably many others, we're left wondering if the La Boulange branding and marketing will slowly fade away from Starbucks stores. I assume it will. The Wall Street Journal article doesn't really tackle that very question.
Two years ago, I attended a special blogger/ media event at the Starbucks headquarters to learn about the direction of La Boulange in partnership with Starbucks. I met Pascal Rigo and truly had a great time. There's no question in my mind, in 2013 if you'd asked Starbucks if they'd be closing La Boulange stores, and Pascal leaving the company, the answer would have been a resounding "no." In the spring of 2013, Starbucks sold a La Boulange cookbook called Cafe Cooking at Home. Pascal Rigo founded La Bounage in the Bay Area in 1996.
It'll be interesting to see what changes are coming more generally in the area of food at Starbucks. Do you think this is a significant step, closing the La Boulange Cafes?
(The orange La Boulange card, seen in this article's anchor photo, is a Starbucks card. You can register it at Starbucks.com. There's also an Evolution Fresh Starbucks card, which can be registered and completely used as your Starbucks card. The Evolution Fresh card is the only Starbucks card that I know of that doesn't have the word Starbucks on it anywhere.)