All Coffee Connections Will Become Starbucks

The last Boston store bearing the Coffee Connection name will disappear by September 1996, twenty-one years after the first Coffee Connection opened in Harvard Square in 1975.

Starbucks Coffee Company, which purchased Coffee Connection in 1994, announced on Wednesday that all 18 Boston Coffee Connection stores would change their names to Starbucks.

The company has said that the Coffee Connection stores are less profitable than the Starbucks stores, and that customers at stores bearing the Starbucks name were more likely to purchase higher priced specialty drinks.

"We understand, from talking to our customers, that the primary concern with this transition is not in the name over the door, but rather the continued availability of The Coffee Connection roast," said Starbucks Chair and CEO Howard Schultz in a full page ad in the Boston Globe on Thursday.

"As we make these changes, I want to assure you that our most popular Coffee Connection coffees will continue to be available at the former Coffee Connection locations."


No layoffs will occur due to the change, according to a regional Starbucks executive. In addition, seven Coffee Connection blends will con- tinue to be offered in stores and supermarkets.

Reactions to the name change varied.

"It won't really affect me coming here," said Yasuki Sato, a student at the Kennedy School. "It's just nostalgic."

Others remarked not on the name change itself, but the commercialization in general.

"[The name change] is emblematic of the changes since Coffee Connection was taken over by Starbucks. There has been a reduction in the range of products and a decrease in quality," said J.R. Deshazo, a Ph.D. student in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences.

"It is a lot more commercialized than Coffee Connection [originally] was," Deshazo said. "The whole transition has been disappointing."

Some frequenters of the Harvard Square Coffee Connection store seemed apathetic, however.

"I suppose I don't care," said Jonathan A. Fortescue, a Harvard teaching fellow. "Since it has already been taken over, it's probably more corporately honest to change the name."

Some Coffee Connection stores in Wellesley and Boston have already closed and reopened under the Starbucks name.

In addition, Coffee Connection coffee is now roasted at a Starbucks plant in York, Penn., instead of in South Boston