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While the coffee isn’t on yet, Starbucks Coffee confirmed that behind the tarped-off section inside of Albertsons is a new Starbucks location under construction at 5500 S. Sixth St., in Klamath Falls.

The location will tentatively open by the end of the month, if not sooner, according to Albertsons store director Eric Dalton.

“It’s supposed to be one of the newest and nicest ones in the state,” Dalton said Tuesday.

Dalton has already hired one dozen employees to help staff it. Employees will report to Albertsons management, but the location is licensed through Starbucks Coffee. Dalton has also added additional grocery store staff in anticipation of the estimated extra business to the overall store.

Renovations at the grocery store have meant a temporary rearrangement of the customer service center as well as a rearrangement of the floral area.

“It’s been a lot of work but we’re really excited with the outcome,” Dalton said. “It’s good to bring Starbucks back into the community.”

The store director said he tried to reach out to former Haggen employees about the positions, but most had moved on from their previous employment. Albertsons has hired former Haggen employees to other store posts, such as the pharmacy.

Klamath Falls lost its Starbucks Coffee location Sept. 9, a few weeks before the Haggen grocery store chain closed two stores locally.

Community interest

An outcry from some members of the community ensued, including from local resident Cyndy Jensen. Jensen, who is retired but a full-time coffee enthusiast, gathered and submitted roughly 1,200 signatures to Starbucks within about one week to show the community’s interest in the company.

“The community was not happy with Starbucks leaving the area,” Dalton said.

Jensen has been filling up on caffeine in Medford since Starbucks closed its doors in Klamath Falls.

For Jensen, it’s about the people, the coffee, and the customer service that keeps her a Starbucks regular, even if it means filling her gasoline tank to do it.

She’s looking forward to caramel macchiatos closer to home once Albertons opens its new Starbucks location.

“It’s consistent,” Jensen said. “You can usually get the same thing everywhere.”

Malin resident Megan Halousek, who checked out items at Albertsons on Tuesday with 3-year-old daughter Teagan, also looks forward to the return of the business to the area.

“I’m super excited it’s coming back,” Halousek said, adding that now she won’t have to travel so far to use Starbucks gift cards.

“I’m planning to order an eggnog chai latte.”