Peet's Coffee & Tea plans to open seven stores in southeast Michigan in ex-Caribou Coffee outlets. (Jason Miller / Pixelate Photography and Design)
Peet’s Coffee & Tea Inc., a California-based chain, plans to open seven stores in southeast Michigan by the end of November in former Caribou Coffee outlets.
The locations include Royal Oak, Grosse Pointe, Shelby Township, Rochester Hills, Commerce Township, Novi and Ann Arbor.
“We are excited to expand into the Detroit Metro area as part of Peet’s Coffee & Tea’s biggest retail expansion in the company’s 47-year history,” said Denyelle Bruno, vice president, retail operations.
The Emeryville, Calif., company was purchased for $1 billion by the German firm Joh. A. Benckiser Group, which bought both Caribou and Peet’s coffeehouses in 2012. The company has closed many Caribous across the country and reopened them as Peet’s.
Caribou will continue to service five franchised Michigan locations, three at Detroit Metropolitan Airport, one at Henry Ford Hospital in West Bloomfield and another in Stevensville on the state’s west side. Stores in Livonia, Clarkston, Grosse Pointe Woods, Plymouth and two locations in Troy were shuttered.
The flagship Caribou store in downtown Royal Oak remains closed because of landlord-tenant concerns. Bruno said a final leasing agreement could not be reached for the location at 401 S. Main St.
“We will be relocating employees hired for the South Main store to other Peet’s Coffee & Tea store locations in the area ... as a final leasing agreement could not be reached,” Bruno said.
When it comes to coffee, the chain has a reputation for being a cut above the rest, said Tom Isaia, owner of Coffee Express, a coffee roaster in Plymouth. “They have been a leader of dark roasting, flavorful coffees. Their presence in Michigan will reinvigorate the marketplace.”
While Peet’s negotiates leases, Isaia said the latest trend is “third wave” coffeehouses such as Astro’s and Great Lakes in Detroit, Chazzano in Ferndale or Comet in Ann Arbor, where customers can purchase hand-poured drip coffee, a variety of French pressed java and cream fresh from the farm.
Bruno expects the firm will hire more than 100 employees for its stores, which staff 15 to 20 workers per store. Many of them will be former Caribou employees. The firm would not reveal wages, but said it provides health care to eligible part-time and full-time employees.
Bruno said the California firm is particularly excited by the possibility of expanding job possibilities in Metro Detroit.
“Over the past 10 years we’ve created over 2,000 jobs and witnessed countless people advance their careers at Peet’s as a result of their great work and supported by our training programs,” she said.
In spring of 2012 Peet’s had just fewer than 200 stores and with a cash infusion from the German conglomerate, Benckiser, it is expanding across the country. The company has a majority stake in Coty Inc., the maker of OPI nail polish, and Labelux, the company that makes high-end shoes, including Jimmy Choo.
Maureen McDonald is a Metro Detroit freelance writer.