La Boulange Palo Alto set to close Sept. 3 | Peninsula Foodist | Elena Kadvany | Mountain View Online |

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About this blog: I am a perpetually hungry twenty-something journalist, born and raised in Menlo Park and currently working at the Palo Alto Weekly as education and youth staff writer. I graduated from USC with a major in Spanish and a minor in jo...  (More)

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La Boulange Palo Alto set to close Sept. 3

Uploaded: Aug 27, 2015
Starbucks is beginning this week phased closures of all 23 La Boulange cafes throughout the Bay Area, with the Palo Alto location closing its doors next Thursday, Sept. 3, at 1 p.m., according to an employee.

Starbucks, which bought La Boulange in 2012, announced in June that it would be closing all of the Bay Area cafes, describing them as "not sustainable for the company's long-term growth."

The Palo Alto location at 151 University Ave. will be open until 2 p.m. every day until next Thursday. Starbucks will reportedly continue to close other locations through Sept. 25.

Meanwhile, rumors are swirling that the founder of La Boulange, Pascal Rigo, is in talks with Starbucks to re-open several of the San Francisco cafes under a new name and new menu.

Comments

 +   10 people like this
Posted by andrew rich, a resident of Woodland Ave. area (East Palo Alto),
on Aug 27, 2015 at 11:01 am

andrew rich is a registered user.

Stupid, Starbucks. Just stupid.


 +   9 people like this
Posted by Carla, a resident of Downtown North,
on Aug 27, 2015 at 11:27 am

Carla is a registered user.

"--rumors are swirling that the founder of La Boulange, Pascal Rigo, is in talks with Starbucks to re-open several of the San Francisco cafes under a new name and new menu."

And the probability of this nearly zero, given that thwarting competition is the reason they are closing them to begin with.


 +   8 people like this
Posted by Linda, a resident of Old Mountain View,
on Aug 27, 2015 at 2:12 pm

Of course, on Castro Street Le Boulanger serves Peets and has better pastries and sandwiches... with a Starbucks footsteps away.


 +   2 people like this
Posted by Barbkazoo, a resident of Old Palo Alto,
on Aug 28, 2015 at 4:28 am

Barbkazoo is a registered user.

OH NO - Love La Boulange!!!!!


 +   10 people like this
Posted by Martin , a resident of Downtown North,
on Aug 28, 2015 at 8:44 am

Loved La boulange ... Hate Starbucks.

Its like Microsoft buying and shutting down promising startups. What a tragedy!


 +   4 people like this
Posted by Mike Keenly, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park,
on Aug 28, 2015 at 1:24 pm

La Boulange has been one of the few businesses that has made the quirky Palo Alto University Ave. space work. Hopefully another food-related business or cafe will take over the location and continue the current configuration.


 +   5 people like this
Posted by Uhhh...., a resident of Old Mountain View,
on Aug 28, 2015 at 1:38 pm

To clarify, the closure of Starbucks' "La Boulange" in no way will result in the closure of the "Le Boulanger" bakery cafes. Just letting people know that in case they were wondering... :)


 +   3 people like this
Posted by Jean, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park,
on Aug 28, 2015 at 5:42 pm

I'm glad it's not Le Boulanger on Santa Cruz that is closing. As for La Boulange being closed by Starbucks, that was obviously the goal when Starbucks bought it: eliminate the competition. Too compete effectively, all Starbucks needed to do was offer comparable or better quality.


 +   3 people like this
Posted by Jean, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park,
on Aug 28, 2015 at 5:44 pm

oops not 'too' but to compete. Almanac how about having the ability to edit a comment?


 +   3 people like this
Posted by Lebeau, a resident of Menlo Park,
on Aug 29, 2015 at 7:58 am

Maybe Le Boulanger would be interested in the space. Hint, hint.


 +   2 people like this
Posted by Sconer, a resident of Barron Park,
on Aug 30, 2015 at 5:06 pm

I wonder if Starbucks will bring back their original pumpkin scone. I miss that.


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Nayeli, a resident of Midtown,
on Aug 31, 2015 at 1:50 pm

Does anyone know if the La Boulange in Sunnyvale (the one on Matilda) will also close? That is a great cafe and bakery!


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Reader, a resident of another community,
on Aug 31, 2015 at 3:53 pm

@Nayeli:

The article states "Starbucks is beginning this week phased closures of all 23 La Boulange cafes throughout the Bay Area."

The one in Sunnyvale will close shortly.


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by fwiw, a resident of Woodside: other,
on Aug 31, 2015 at 3:59 pm

@Reader, @Nayeli

->Le Boulanger<- in Sunnyvale is NOT closing. It is the unrelated ->La Boulange<- chain which only has locations in Palo Alto and Burlingame which is being shut down.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by fwiw, a resident of Woodside: other,
on Aug 31, 2015 at 4:01 pm

Sorry meant to say only has *nearby* locations in Palo Alto and Burlingame. The other La Boulange locations are in Marin, SF, and the East Bay.


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Reader, a resident of another community,
on Aug 31, 2015 at 8:46 pm

@fwiw:

Thanks for the clarification. I was surprised to hear that there was a La Boulange in Sunnyvale and your observation that this is a Le Boulanger store makes far more sense (I don't get to Sunnyvale often).

Plus, La Boulange is almost as forgettable as Le Boulanger as a bakery cafe chain.


 +   3 people like this
Posted by Max Hauser, a resident of Old Mountain View,
on Aug 31, 2015 at 11:42 pm

Max Hauser is a registered user.

The name confusion in the comments above is the predictable side effect of a far newer (and yet, already closing) bakery chain -- La Boulange -- taking a name very close to that of an existing, long-established, unrelated local (family-owned) bakery chain in the peninsula and south bay -- Le Boulanger -- and expanding into its territory.

Actually, I'm surprised that this name duplication didn't cause even more confusion.


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by TimH, a resident of Old Palo Alto,
on Sep 2, 2015 at 11:15 am

The URL provided about "swirling rumors" (Web Link) didn't work for me. Could be on a new URL or (always a possibility..) my error. Starbuck's is "what it is" but compliments out to the University Avenue baristas for making a consistently good wet cap! ;)


 +   4 people like this
Posted by Reader, a resident of another community,
on Sep 2, 2015 at 11:48 am

Here are URLs to various sites about the possibility of some of the La Boulange locations being reopened under a new name; the stories are all based on the the same rumor:

Web Link
Web Link
Web Link

This is not the first time the rumor has been mentioned. The possibility of some stores remaining as a new chain was mentioned when Starbucks first announced the impending shutdown of the La Boulange cafe chain back in April.

Clearly, Starbucks is motivated to divest itself of these 23 properties. It does make sense to sell some/all of these properties as a group to another organization rather then sell them piecemeal individually.

La Boulange founder Pascal Rigo is no longer with Starbucks, and without a doubt, he is well aware of which stores performed the strongest. Thus, he could select 6-7 of the best performing La Boulange stores and offer to take them off of Starbucks' hands, leaving the coffee giant the remaining 16-17 properties left to deal with instead of 23.


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Not impressed, a resident of Mayfield,
on Sep 2, 2015 at 3:59 pm

Service at La Boulange on University was terrible... I stopped going there, so I won't miss them much.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Reader, a resident of another community,
on Sep 26, 2015 at 9:09 am

As rumored, Pascal Rigo is reopening six shuttered La Boulange stores (all in San Francisco) as La Boulangerie de San Francisco.

SFGate article: Web Link

The first to open will be the original Pine Street store in Pacific Heights, with additional stores reopening about one per month.

There was no indication that Rigo would be reopening any stores outside of San Francisco



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