By Kylie Balk-Yaatenen - October 30th 2023
A new Starbucks that opens soon in an outbuilding at the Uptown Janesville mall could bring needed traffic to the mall but might not prove so positive for nearby existing local coffeeshops.
The outbuilding at 2500 Milton Ave., in the mall’s front parking lot, once held a mattress shop. Going forward, in addition to Starbucks, it will also house a LensCrafters.
It will be the second Starbucks in Janesville. The existing Starbucks is in the Pine Tree Plaza, 2500 Humes Road.
The city does not have an official date for the opening. Julie Cubbage, general manager at Uptown Janesville, said it will likely be Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving.
“Starbuck brings in a lot of traffic so having it by the mall will help during Black Friday,” she said. “People can get their coffee and then shop at Bath & Body Works, Dick’s and Kohls.”
On Monday, the two storefronts stood empty, the only signage the Starbucks logo and banners of people wearing glasses.
Cubbage said with its proximity, she expects the Starbucks will generally draw shoppers into the mall.
“All of the mall’s employees are super excited about it,” she said. “Now they won’t have to go all the way across town for a coffee.”
Cubbage said the Starbucks franchise is deliberate about where it locates stores. She said she feels the Woodman’s Sports and Convention Center proposed to be built on the site of a shuttered Sears department store at Uptown Janesville likely made the site appealing.
She said a lot of thought has been put into the drive-thru set up so it doesn’t impede traffic, after queuing vehicles at the Pine Tree Plaza Starbucks blocked traffic at a neighboring restaurant.
The owner of local coffee shop Havana Coffee, 1250 Milton Ave., is admittedly wary of a chain competitor a mile away.
Daniella Samara said it may affect how many people come into her shop but she said “only time will tell.”
“It’s really up to the community to support local coffee shops,” she said. “Hopefully, they will keep us in mind and continue to support us.”
Samara said Havana Coffee has been trying to update its menu with new options. It serves coffee, boba tea, soups, sandwiches and other cafe items.
Manager Maria Garcia said she believes Havana Coffee and Starbucks cater to different clientele and said “competition is always just down the street.”