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Morning buzzkill: Starbucks at the Magnolia Hotel, hottest of the downtown stores, closes

Morning buzzkill: Starbucks at the Magnolia Hotel, hottest of the downtown stores, closes

Starbucks, logo, neon sign
The Starbucks logo will no longer be found on the premises of the Magnolia Hotel in downtown Dallas. ScenicReflections.com
Magnolia Hotel, Dallas
The Magnolia Hotel is currently a caffeine-free zone — not by choice. Photo courtesy of Oyster.com
Starbucks, logo, neon sign
Magnolia Hotel, Dallas

The Starbucks at the Magnolia Hotel, the most happening of all the downtown Dallas Starbucks, has closed, with no immediate prospects for reopening or replacement.

The store originally closed on Thanksgiving, with a sign posted on the door that read the closure was a "temporary inconvenience." The sign also offered directions to the closest store at 1700 Pacific. But the company that ran the store has gone out of business.

This branch was not a corporate Starbucks but was instead a licensed store owned by Fresh Choice, a California company that operated a chain of casual buffet-style salad bars in California and Washington State.

 A staffer at another Starbucks said that corporate Starbucks had considered taking over the location but decided against it, leaving the Magnolia Hotel stuck for its caffeine.

In fact, the Magnolia Hotel Starbucks started out in 2001 as a Fresh Choice store that served prepared sandwiches and salads. Fresh Choice declared bankruptcy last year and in November closed its final branch in Sacramento, California.

The Magnolia Hotel location switched to its entity as a licensed Starbucks in March 2002. Licensed stores sell the same products, but the staff works for the licensing company, not Starbucks; other licensed stores can be found at supermarkets and stores like Tom Thumb and Target.

The Magnolia location was a success because it benefited from three customer groups: downtown residents, office workers and hotel visitors. A staffer at another Starbucks said that corporate Starbucks had considered taking over the location but decided against it, leaving the Magnolia Hotel stuck for its caffeine.

"This store was extremely popular, and we're disappointed not to have it as an amenity for our guests," said a Magnolia Hotel staffer, who asked not to be named, and who hinted that a local purveyor might be considered as a replacement. "We know that coffee here is a good idea," the staffer said.