Today, at 5 PM CST, after 16 years, my Starbucks is closing.
It was the very first Starbucks in south Austin, and only the second one ever in Austin. I have parked under the same light in the parking lot every morning, watched fellow regular Mark go into the store in his wheelchair and do the crossword for year after year after year. A friend and I hired one of the baristas away from this store because we loved her so much. She later married a regular customer there that she fell in love with. Those are my friends Kristin and Ben.
I always joked that if anything ever happened to me, it would be the employees and customers in this store that would call the police first. That's how big and regular a part of our lives this store was. We all loved all the small moments there, especially the American Idol debriefs and the talk about LOST. I can't remember the last time I had to actually say what my drink was.
The last two days, we scrambled to find out where the other customers were going so that we could still be together.
I've never ever been so sad to see a business close. Say what you want about Starbucks being a big chain, or there being one on every corner... This store was our community and our home, and our happy hello to every day. I pulled up every day, parked in "my" spot, and had that joyful, comfortable, "everything is right with the world" feeling.
Here's what it looked like this morning, when everyone was bravely trying not to cry..
Thanks a latte, Brodie Starbucks. You have no idea how much I will miss all of you.