Hofmann: Homewood Caribou closes
By Maryellen Hofmann Citizen Journalistemail@example.com May 24, 2012 12:44PM
Myras (left) and Linda Osman, both Homewood residents and regular customers, visit Caribou Coffee in Homewood during its last week. | Supplied Photo
Updated: July 2, 2012 9:19AM
The news of Caribou Coffee’s sudden closing on May 20 spread quickly.
Regulars dropped in for one last cup. Some brought flowers. Others choked up at the thought of losing their favorite hangout and bidding farewell to the familiar staff.
My typical Saturday morning includes stops at several neighborhood spots: Dunning’s Market and Walt’s Food Center for groceries, the Homewood Farmers’ Market (in season), the H-F Racquet and Fitness Club and Caribou Coffee. Personally, I’ll miss Sue’s smiling face and superb service. She not only greeted her customers by name, but knew their daily routines and how they liked their coffee.
Nielsen’s Bakery, Tom’s Family Restaurant and now Caribou Coffee, have closed. Granted, the first two were true family-owned local businesses. Caribou Coffee, by contrast, is company-owned.
Homewood Caribou was remarkably good at making the establishment part of the neighborhood. The service was friendly and the vibe welcoming. Students studied, community groups met there and pet lovers gathered. It’s where I often conducted interviews and wrote my neighborhood columns.
The store supported our local schools and community fundraisers, showcased local musicians, hired our neighbors. It was easy to forget Caribou was a corporate entity. We were reminded, rather harshly, last Sunday.
Before the last drop of coffee was poured, there was talk of a letter-writing campaign to Caribou’s Minnesota headquarters to convince the company to find another Homewood location — perhaps with a drive-through. Stranger things have happened in Homewood, a community that bands together to accomplish things that matter.
There is a tendency to take local businesses for granted. We’re quick to ask for donations, take advantage of free Wi-Fi and curl up by the fireplace for hours on end. But, whether a business is local or corporate, it must be profitable. That’s where we come in. Businesses need paying customers and lots of them. No one owes us a coffee shop, bakery or family restaurant. The walkable downtown with the quaint storefronts we claim to love is not a birthright.
Yes, we’ll survive and find another coffee shop in town to patronize. And, no, we won’t drive five miles to the next-closest Caribou in Tinley Park, as was suggested on the store closing sign. That might have seemed like a good idea to some marketing committee, but it sounds downright silly in Homewood.
Glenwood Academy celebrates milestone
Glenwood School unveiled a new name and logo on May 19. The school, established in 1887, now will be known as Glenwood Academy.
School officials said the new name more accurately reflects the school’s mission: to provide a safe, nurturing environment for at-risk children.
The rollout of the new name and logo was part of the institution’s 125th anniversary celebration and 116th Flag Day ceremony. Glenwood Academy is a private boarding school for academically capable children in grades three to eight who are from low-income families and/or headed by a single parent or guardian.
Glenwood Academy combines a rigorous academic environment with a supportive and structured boarding program that teaches social and leadership skills.