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Trouble brewing? iReporters talk Starbucks

  • Story Highlights
  • The Starbucks coffee chain announced Tuesday it will shutter 600 stores
  • CNN readers respond to the news, exchange divided opinions of the coffee giant
  • iReporter FlashBauer58 says as gas prices climb, pricey drink purchases will fall
  • iReport.com: Love Starbucks? What about the chain? Share your opinion
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(CNN) -- In an effort to alleviate problems facing the company, Starbucks announced that it will close 600 company-run U.S. stores over the next year. Most of the stores are near another Starbucks and aren't profitable.

Starbucks said Tuesday it will begin closing stores as market saturation has made some stores unprofitable.

Nancy Blomquist moved from Georgia to Arizona and sent friends this photo of her first 'houseguest' -- Starbucks.

CNN.com asked iReporters to respond to the news that the coffee giant, known for its saturation of the market, is shuttering some retail locations.

iReporter mattwilliams says he's happy to see some Starbucks go, opening the market for independent coffee shops. Rusty1978 says he can't imagine how Starbucks is in financial trouble, given that his local store is always packed. Cval predicts more people will give up their lattes as the economy tightens.

Below are a selection of iReport responses, some of which have been edited for length and clarity. iReport.com: Share your thoughts on Starbucks here

Stefan: Starbucks Coffee, no doubt, has been a powerhouse phenomenon in the American barista world. The coffee super-giant has not only introduced, but set a national trend in coffee drinking for years to come ... they have created a culture.

Everywhere you look, from street corners, to bookstores and now even supermarkets, there is a Starbucks coffee shop or stand. So what will we do if we no longer have our daily dose of super-charged joe? Go somewhere else.

Since they started becoming a national chain, there has been a rush of smaller coffee shops trying to duplicate the relaxing, welcoming feel of Starbucks, and some do well and even exceed the patron's expectations, offering sofa's, tables, background music and even free internet.

But what about the coffee? As for those specialty drinks, many small coffee shop owners have started sending their employees to barista school, where they learn how to make the "perfect" cup of coffee / espresso with those perfect little beans. ... It is possible we may see a new coffee shop in town; and maybe, just maybe, the "next big thing".

FlashBauer38: I am glad to see Starbucks finally realized you only need one store per city block. I personally do not like or go to Starbucks. I normally get my coffee from Dunkin Donuts on the way to work or buy grounds from them to make at home ... for a reasonable price. I already have to spend $4 a gallon on gas, why would I spend $4 for 12 oz of coffee?

cval: You're kidding me, right? Anyone heard of the Mr. Coffee machine? You can get one for $15, and set it to have your coffee ready for you when you roll out of bed, then it turns off an hour later so as not to burn your house down should you forget to turn it off. Starbucks has always been a luxury item, when people need to get back to basics to survive.

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Maybe people are just realizing this, and it is way overdue if you ask me. It's as expensive as smoking, think of all the money you can put into savings if you brew your own coffee.

Johnmcook: "My Starbucks", in the Uptown section of West Village is much more than a place to get a cup of java. It is a real part of the community, a busy, urban, somewhat trendy area near downtown Dallas.

I know each employee by name and they know me. I keep track of their progress through college, another's budding music career, and will attend another's wedding. When on the patio with my Chihuahua, they bring him water to help beat the heat or whipped cream as a treat ...

If you have ever spent time in the UK... you understand the social importance of meeting at the local pub... my Starbucks is the equivalent of that. You come there to get your favorite coffee but you leave with and come back for ... so much more.

rusty1978: Well, amongst all the Starbucks frowners around, I must say it's strong coffee and that's how I like it. I've got a Starbucks in commercial space in my building -- so convenient. I love the Verona, Gold Coast and Kenya blends.

I just can't believe they're not doing good business as most every store is always packed with people -- and they've even raised their prices last year, so I can't understand the closings at all. Someone please explain. Yes, I prefer strong Starbucks coffee in the morning!

mattwilliams: Could I live without Starbucks? The answer is a resounding YES! I live in a small tourist town on the coast of Georgia. Our many different local restaurants provide unique dining experiences with their atmospheres and menus. This is something I fear is being lost because of big chains like Starbucks coming in and replacing local, unique businesses with the same atmosphere and dining experience one could have in Anytown, USA.

So rather than make every little getaway town in this country the very same one Starbucks at a time, I say boycott them all and shut them all down! That won't happen because Starbucks has become part of a routine for so many people.

What would be nice is for the average American consumer to wake up and try to have a unique experience in his or her hometown. Rather than going to that same Starbucks that is so convenient with its drive-thru and perfect location on the way to one's destination, why not take a detour and find a mom-and-pop coffee shoppe, like our own Palm Coast Coffee or Daddy Cate's, and support their brave attempt at making the landscape of where one lives unique.

Nblomq: Definitely a Starbucks Junkie! I moved from Georgia to Arizona last fall, and the first digital picture I sent my girlfriends once I arrived in Tucson was a picture of my first official visitor to my new home ... a Starbucks Chai!

grdpxjmpr: I absolutely could live without Starbucks.

Reason 1: I don't like the taste of Starbucks coffee, especially since they had their closure back in February to make their coffee shop more like a coffee shop. The coffee they have started using since then is terrible.

2. If the Starbucks chain would close some stores, it would allow mom-and-pop-type places to get a footing in the market or allow local smaller chains to expand.

3. Buying beans for home and making your own coffee is substantially less expensive than getting coffee every day from Starbucks. In this economy, being able to pinch pennies helps.

MrRealtor: I hate to say this, but I just like a good ole cup of coffee, and that cannot be found at a Starbucks. Even their most mild coffee is terribly bitter. Will I miss them? No. I would miss a 99-cent cup of coffee from 7-11 worse than a $4.50 cup of yuck from Starbucks.

Blueken: In my entire life, I have had exactly one coffee from Starbucks. Nothing special. I'm not a coffee snob, of course, but I do like a pure Kona roast. I get my caffeine fix at the local gas station. Fresh brewed, $1.49. I predict overpriced microbrew beer is the next to take a hit as the economy gets real.

IchDenke: Yep, Starbucks is too pricey, too burnt and too mega for me! Gimme a hometown-y joint that ain't too expensive and supports our veterans like Just Plain Joe's, and I'm OK! :)

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