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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Here's to You Collins & Green Oaks

I was driving home last week down a familiar road. While waiting at the intersection I was hit by the stark emptiness the corner feels with the loss of the Starbucks at Collins and Green Oaks. This was not my first Starbucks, but this store represented to me all that Starbucks once was. I came here shortly after the birth of Kaylie, and spent one wonderful year at this store. It did not bear the glaring, flashy siren that beckons from most highways today. Instead it had an understated sign that welcomed all who desired a caffeine fix or solace from a long day. The inside was not fancy or new fangled. It had a comfortable feel, like home. It was here you could curl up in the old school big, comfy chair and read, chat, or sleep as I saw some do. The store was not stiff or rigid and instead of the sounds of a drive thru window, you could hear the symphony of milk steaming and espresso shots pouring. All that was missing was the old La Marzocco for a truly authentic feel, but that was retired long ago.

Perhaps what I loved most was the eclectic mix of people that frequented Collins and Green Oaks. We had a lot of college students cramming late into the night. We had a group of people that came and sat on the patio night after night chatting and smoking more cigarettes than one convenience store could provide. There was the old man who arrived every day at opening to drink his coffee and eat a cheese danish. He came off as a little cranky, but he was like family. Then there was Bob he had a particular way he wanted his drink and it had to be filled 3/4 full and extra hot. He was quite eccentric, but once you got his drink down he was a friend for life. Who could forget Duane? He sat at the front of the patio by the door and greeted everyone with,"Top of the morning." Most people thought he was an employee. There were plenty of weird people, but they added color and life to the store. It was a far cry from what I had been used to in the stuffy suburb of Frisco.

Collins and Green Oaks really represented community. It was filled with a warm environment that wove each person's thread of experience into a beautiful tapestry of life. Now that same corner store sits dark and empty, a victim of the Starbucks chopping block in a last ditch effort to save a fledgling company. If only they had realized that no amount of shiny new stores or convenient drive thru's can take the place of community. The money may be quick, but the loyalty is wavering.

Here's to you Starbucks at Collins & Green Oaks the corner will never be the same without you.

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