Bay Area residents devastated after learning La Boulange to close

PALO ALTO, Calif. (KGO) -- A local chain of bakery-cafes with a cult-like following is closing. Starbucks is selling La Boulange, but will continue to sell its pastries.

Starbucks clearly wanted La Boulange for the high quality breakfast sandwiches and pastries since it started nine years ago at a single shop in San Francisco.

"I really like their mini smoked salmon sandwich," said Palo Alto resident Henry Jewkes. "It's great food."

As it grew more popular, it expanded into a small chain of 23 locations around the Bay Area by the time Starbucks paid $100 million for them three years ago.

"We come here for lunch all the time," said neighboring downtown merchant Stephanie Slocum. "As you can see, it's packed. And then also there's a morning crowd. On weekends, people come for lunch and brunch and bring their kids. There's always someone with a dog on the patios."

This small chain of popular hangouts will close by the end of September. Some of its signature items will continue to be sold at Starbucks.

"You can get some of the pastries at Starbucks, but they're not as good as the ones you get here," said loyal customer John Whaley.

Running La Boulange was a distraction, according to one Starbucks executive. La Boulange had a different culture than Starbucks. Coffee served in ceramic bowls. It served beer, too.

Companies tend to acquire companies to cherry pick what they do best. And Starbucks saw its food sales rise 16 percent by adding La Boulange pastries and sandwiches.

"I was happy when they bought it because to be honest they make a good product," said La Boulange fan Gus Dedo. "Their croissants are good, and I was glad that Starbucks added that line. I'm very disappointed that they're closing it."

La Boulange's manager wouldn't allow ABC7 News inside. Some employees may be offered jobs at Starbucks, while others may find themselves out of work.

Copyright © 2021 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.