New Starbucks Perks Up Imperial Highway

Opened August 28th, the new Starbucks near Biola’s campus boasts a drive-thru and extended hours.

Opened+August+28th%2C+the+new+Starbucks+near+Biolas+campus+offers+customers+a+drive-thru+and+extended+hours.+%7C+Cherri+Yoon%2FTHE+CHIMES

Opened August 28th, the new Starbucks near Biola’s campus offers customers a drive-thru and extended hours. | Cherri Yoon/THE CHIMES

Katie Nelson, Writer

As part of an effort by the city of La Mirada to attract more student business, a new Starbucks opened near Biola’s campus Aug. 28 after months of construction. The store is situated on the corner of Imperial Highway and La Mirada Boulevard, replacing the Starbucks adjacent to the Verizon Wireless retail store across the street.

NEW AND IMPROVED

The upgraded store surpasses its predecessor’s closing time by a half-hour, staying open until 11 p.m. every night. It boasts a drive-thru option and a larger parking lot to accommodate its 2,419 square-foot space, which can hold up to 65 patrons, according to a statement from the City of La Mirada.

The new Starbucks has a larger seating area and is more sensitive to customers’ needs, according to Janet Rodriguez, a La Mirada resident and denizen of the replaced Starbucks.

“The minute I walked in I was really impressed with the space. I love that they have way more seating options available,” Rodriguez said. “The other one didn’t have any specific seating arrangements for people who have disabilities, so I love that.”

However, the transition from old store to new store proved a bit inconvenient due to lack of advertising, according to Rodriguez.

“I drove up on Tuesday night and I pulled into the parking lot and I saw that the signs were gone. I knew that this one was going to open up and I looked across the street and saw it lit up but the parking lot was closed. So I went down to the one on Rosecrans,” she said.

Emily Williams, a barista at a different Starbucks in the area, stopped by the location on its opening day with a co-worker.

“It’s pretty big news in our district. It’s so big and new and clean. Our store’s pretty slow, so we wanted to see what the new drive-thru looked like,” Williams said.

Starbucks staffed the La Mirada Boulevard store by bringing in experienced baristas from other stores in the district to meet the onslaught of customers interested in visiting the new space.

“Everybody’s supposed to transfer a barista out of their store to get more here,” Williams said. “I’m sure they’ll still be hiring, because it’s going to be a pretty high-volume store.”

Not the first new store to open up in the area, a Starbucks with a similar layout — complete with drive-thru — opened on Whittier Boulevard last spring. Additionally, the area surrounding the La Mirada Boulevard location has begun to increase its emphasis on community development, as the Chimes reported in May. Two such retailers — a Walmart Neighborhood Market and a Walgreens — showed up at the Crossroads Shopping Center diagonally across from the new Starbucks.

The coffee chain’s modern layout and tan coloring fits the pattern established by the City of La Mirada, known as the Imperial Highway Specific Plan. Partially developed for the many Biola students limited in their retail choices by transportation woes, the plan caters to the more than 6,000 Biolans residing in La Mirada. The stores opening up mean to provide a walkable alternative to driving to La Habra or Whittier.

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