It’s been a little more than three years since Safari Cup Coffee (somewhat) unexpectedly closed up shop at the corner of 21st St. (Richard Arrington, Jr. Blvd) and 3rd Ave. N. What some folks may not be aware of is that they simply moved the operation a few hours north to Chicago.
They opened in October of 2009 along the Southport corridor of the Windy City’s Lakeview neighborhood. A 2011 interview with the city’s RedEye has Dave McLaughlin saying the move was because he and wife “desired a more open-minded city and one that would embrace their African-only coffee.”
An email sent out over the weekend from “Andrew” via the site Change.org directs people to sign an online petition asking Starbucks to not go through with plans to open a new location next door to the independent coffee shop. The email, however, asked for folks to “Save Birmingham’s Safari Cup coffeeshop.”
The news first broke in Chicago on November 16 via Facebook, with DNAInfo and the Patch site for Lakeview both writing about McLaughlin’s concerns and the fact that Starbucks hasn’t exactly done anything wrong.
A local blog, 900poundgorilla, maintained by W.C. Truck, has also been vocal about the impending Starbucks expansion. He’s gone so far as to write an open letter to Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz on his site inviting him on his radio show Sunday (yesterday) on WCPT-AM 820. We don’t know if Schultz accepted the invitation.