October 26, 2015
By: Heather Jordan, Mlive
BANGOR TOWNSHIP, MI — Starbucks in Bay County is open and baristas are serving those famous pumpkin spice lattes and salted caramel mochas.
The new Starbucks, which is located near the Bay City Mall at the former Lone Star Steakhouse site, 4107 E. Wilder Road in Bangor Township, along with a new Panda Express, opened for business at 6 a.m. Monday, Oct. 26.
Brenda Hine, a big-time Starbucks fan, said it's about time.
"Getting a Starbucks, to me, in Bay City is a big deal. I think it's long overdue," said the 48-year-old Bangor Township woman, who ordered a salted caramel Frappuccino.
"They should have put one in a long time ago," added her 21-year-old daughter, Heidi Orr, holding a mocha Frappuccino.
This was her first time buying a drink from the Seattle-based coffee franchise.
"They're really good," Orr said.
There now are Starbucks locations in Bay, Midland and Saginaw counties.
Starbucks offers coffee and espresso drinks, smoothies, Frappuccino blended beverages, pastries, sandwiches and coffee accessories.
A company spokesperson said, "Starbucks is always looking for great locations to better meet the needs of our customers."
The new store is open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. It employs 14 people, and management still is hiring, according to the company spokesperson. Job seekers can apply at starbucks.com/careers.
A grand-opening event takes place from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 5, during which time the store is accepting donations to benefit the Humane Society of Bay County, according to the spokesperson.
Bob Zimmerman ordered a caramel macchiato during his first visit to the new location.
"I've been a Starbucks fan for 20 years," the 65-year-old Banger Township man said. "It's not cheap, but it's good coffee."
Zimmerman said he's glad when anything new opens in the Bay City area, noting Target, Sears, Texan Family Restaurant and other businesses have left in the past year. He hopes Starbucks can make it in Bay County.
Opening next door to the new Starbucks is a new Panda Express. The fast casual Chinese restaurant is slated to open Tuesday, Oct. 27.
Versa Development, a Southfield-based firm, is the developer of the two buildings. The company has brought a number of retail brands to Michigan communities, including Starbucks, Qdoba, Sports Clips and Pancheros.
Zimmerman said he's a fan of Panda Express, too.
"It's good food," he said. "I think that will fly here because I think it's reasonable. You can get a big meal for seven or eight bucks as opposed to $40."
On Monday morning, Tim and Jean Hogan, of Au Gres, made the trip south to the new Starbucks.
"It was the closest one to us, we are excited that it opened here," said Jean Hogan. "When we realized it had opened, we were in town and had to make a stop."