Rumor confirmed: Peet's to open in Alamo Plaza

Opening planned for this fall

Coming this fall to Alamo: Peet's Coffee & Tea. The store confirmed today that it will open later this year at 215 Alamo Plaza, the same location as the Yellow Wood Coffee and Tea, which closed last September.

Rumors have been circulating since late last year that the well-known East Bay based coffee company would be moving to the plaza, making it the fifth store in the San Ramon Valley. Danville has a single store and San Ramon has three.

Peet's has been an East Bay institution since 1966, when Alfred H. Peet opened his original store in Berkeley.

In fact, the venti soy double mocha frappuccino and the growth of coffee culture in America in general can be traced directly to Peet's. Alfred Peet mentored several generations of specialty coffee entrepreneurs, including the cofounder of Starbucks, Jerry Baldwin. When Starbucks opened its first store in Seattle, Peet's Coffee & Tea supplied Starbucks with beans for two years.

It remains to be seen whether Peet's can do what Yellow Wood couldn't: Bring in enough customers to pay the rent. Yellow Wood closed despite a flurry of last minute attempts to stay open, citing lost traffic when Wells Fargo Bank moved across the parking lot and high rent.

The premises are undergoing extensive renovations. The wall that opened Yellow Wood to the Sage Terrace of Alamo next door has been closed and the Sage space is still for lease.

Both enterprises, which opened in 2005, were owned by Mike and Lauren Duensing. The coffee shop, which was dubbed the town hall of Alamo, was doing well until 2008, when the recession hit, said Lauren Duensing.


Posted by Alamo Al, a resident of Alamo
on Jul 12, 2011 at 9:09 pm


Posted by Bud, a resident of San Ramon
on Jul 12, 2011 at 9:49 pm

Oh, how very, very nice. Coffee in September at Peet's... Yay!!!

Posted by Alamo Ron, a resident of Alamo
on Jul 12, 2011 at 10:35 pm

Wonderful! Alamo now has a new town hall. Best wishes for Peet's coffee.

Posted by Neighbor, a resident of Alamo
on Jul 13, 2011 at 7:54 am

Wow, kinda sad the community is excited about a chain coffee house coming in at the loss of a locally owned business. Maybe if the property owner had been willing to work with the local business, we could have helped them through one of the worst economies. I think I'll get my coffee from a locally owned business to show my protest.

Posted by Lisa, a resident of Danville
on Jul 13, 2011 at 8:30 am

Great, now please bring one to The Rose Pavillion in Danville. We need one on Sycamore Valley Road too: )

Posted by YW Fan, a resident of Danville
on Jul 13, 2011 at 8:59 am

I love Peet's. However, Yellow Wood offered a unnique experience and it is missed. The local owners were actively engaged in the business. The atmosphere was wonderful. I miss seeing people sitting outside, enjoying their little corner of Alamo.

Remember to support your local businesses. It's what makes our communities special.

Posted by jjjj, a resident of Alamo
on Jul 13, 2011 at 9:14 am

how exciting just what alamo needs another hi priced chain so every one can sit on the corner and say hey look at me i support someone that neither lives here or owns property here. but is it great we now have two starbucks perhaps another peets will open's obvious we did not support local people like yellow wood but wow peete is that not wonderful there is no loyalty to local business in alamo

Posted by Nick, a resident of Blackhawk
on Jul 13, 2011 at 11:27 am

I think the Peet's CEO lives in Alamo ... if so, this was long overdue.

However Peet's is a progressive, broad minded business (lot of local craft, decor, etc). And of course the first store fittingly started in Berkeley. So not sure if it will last in Alamo.

Posted by Bill, a resident of Danville
on Jul 13, 2011 at 11:47 am

It is sad to see a chain move in as they do have the deeper pockets to weather financial downturns. Coffee shops are good barometers of the financial situation of our communities as this is disposable income, however Alamo is rather unique for this measuring stick.

Posted by Bud, a resident of San Ramon
on Jul 13, 2011 at 12:15 pm

Some folks here are missing the point. I supported Yellow Wood and wish it was still there. The problem was that Wells Fargo moved across the parking lot. The loss of foot traffic from the departure of Wells Fargo hurt Yellow Wood. A YW employee told me the foot traffic decreased by 1,500 a month! Another thing to consider is that Peet's will employ a few folks who may need a job. Good for them.

Posted by Lara, a resident of Alamo
on Jul 14, 2011 at 7:02 am

Just what we need in this sleepy town...another coffee house Cause 2 starbucks, caffino and cherubini just aren't enough.

Posted by Linda, a resident of Alamo
on Jul 14, 2011 at 8:03 am

I am happy to see that they are coming, and hopefully will help revitalize Alamo Plaza. Yes, it is big business, not local. However, let's keep in mind that it was the big business (Starbucks) that helped the small coffee shops around the nation succeed. Before Starbucks, people drank coffee that came in a can, or ordered coffee from a diner that was barely tastier than warm water. Also, Peet's and Starbuck's both started out as small businesses.

Welcome Peet's Coffee

Posted by Hal Bailey, a resident of Alamo
on Jul 14, 2011 at 8:16 am

Dear Dolores,

There are a group of men who meet at Great Donuts in the Alamo Plaza for a quality cup of coffee and a donut. One member of the group has been recruiting new participants for open discussion of politics, economy, and local issues. The coffee is affordable, mild and flavorable and the preferred plain old-fashioned donuts are exceptional.

As the group grows, there is wondering about what Peet's will do differently to be as good as this favorite. It was easy to offer the answer for Peet's as volume take-out and rapid turn-over of tables that would discourage the Yellow Wood or Great Donuts gatherings.

It does raise a question that Peet's marketing raised for the Yellow Wood location over the past year. How can volume be developed at a location that has had a long term issue with groups that buy one cup of coffee and stay for an hour or more? How can we operate a business when the former customers expect a community center?

AS your Alamo readers' look forward to Peet's opening, do they see a return of the previous community center atmosphere? If so, do they expect Peet's to stay?

Posted by Julia, a resident of Alamo
on Jul 14, 2011 at 8:43 am

Interesting thought Hal ... I would love to stop by Great Donuts and attend one of your gatherings.


Posted by Bud, a resident of San Ramon
on Jul 14, 2011 at 10:56 am

Hey Hal, Peet's doesn't "have to do anything differently" to compete with Great Donuts. Peet's established itself long ago with great coffee, etc. And that part about "how can we operate a business when the former customers expect a community center" is... huh? Yellow Wood was a coffee shop, just like Peet's. True, I miss Yellow Wood, but c'mon man, it's just a coffee shop. And... As I stated before, Peet's will put some folks to work. Stop trying to stir the pot and be happy.

Posted by Julia, a resident of Alamo
on Jul 14, 2011 at 11:51 am

Hey everyone and Hal you included. The post by the Julia impostor 2 hours ago was NOT posted by THE ORIGINAL Julia of Alamo.

Just wanted to clear that matter up. The coward that keeps using my name to gain attention is a fraud. I will be watching you, you coward and I will bring to the attention of all the readers of the Danville Express when you post using my good name.

I'm watching you...

The real Julia from Alamo...

Posted by [removed], a resident of Alamo
on Jul 14, 2011 at 12:28 pm

Dear Editor,

There are three Julia's in our Alamo region neighborhoods that contribute to e-exchanges on various subjects. There is exceptional interests among Alamo region neighborhoods that Alamo Plaza doesn't repeat the low sales volume customers offered Yellow Wood as Peet's starts operations. One particular Julia, a contributor to news service research, is focused on the overall Alamo business district and the current restaurants that are struggling to continue to operate.

The subject of this exchange is Peet's and their store's future in Alamo. The concern is that each of our coffee stores in Alamo have issues with low sales volumes from groups and individuals that occupy tables for an hour or more. Peet's business plan is high-volume take-out and rapid turnover in table service and they have taken measures at other stores to prevent community center results. News service researchers have discovered that Peet's has removed large tables from outside seating to discourage groups from gathering. They employ seating that is not comfortable for long-term occupancy. They maximize counter take-out service areas to enhance turnover volume and minimze in-store table service.

Thus, Alamo readers' focus is what will customers do to retain Peet's as part of the Alamo Plaza and not make it another community center?

Posted by Steve, a resident of San Ramon
on Jul 14, 2011 at 1:34 pm

I think Peet's will do (as it should) what makes it profitable and keeps the store in business.

Julia: Ever wonder that there might be more than one Julia in Alamo. Maybe you should sign with your full name to avoid confusion.

Posted by Voices, a resident of Alamo
on Jul 14, 2011 at 2:40 pm

All the Julias posting are, in my opinion, simply the further disturbed rantings of the same person, whom I will not mention here as we all know who it is. Note there is always a "Julia" posting within minutes of the other gentleman's posts. Evidence, I think, of the many voices of whirling muckraking echoing between this guy's ears. I sincerely hope he gets help of some sort.

Posted by Julia, a resident of Alamo
on Jul 14, 2011 at 6:00 pm

Great suggestion Steve from San Ramon.

Now as for the comment by Mr. or Ms. Voices, I would suggest you go get a cup Starbucks Coffee and relax your mental stress.

Julia Pardini, from beautiful downtown Alamo.

Posted by Ralph N. Shirlet, a resident of another community
on Jul 15, 2011 at 7:12 am

Dear Julia,

It is quite nice to be formally introduced but it does leave a question, "Who am I?" You see, the question is created by who others think I am and as I read the description I do not recognize myself.

I certainly tried to solve this dilemma by going to the new Peet's sign in Alamo Plaza, called information on my mobile phone, and had myself paged. When I didn't respond I became quite sure that I must be someone else. I only hope, that like the Peet's sign, that I am "coming soon."

I truly would like to get to know myself like others see me.


Of Ralph redialing

Posted by Julie, a resident of Alamo
on Jul 15, 2011 at 8:23 am


Posted by Ralph N. Shirlet, a resident of another community
on Jul 15, 2011 at 4:41 pm

Dear Julie,

Finally is so final and we have not seen our denouement. Is it finally we have a Peet's and we must see how that plays out? Or is it final that nothing is final as we finally admit it?

We need Alamo Ron to step in and sort all this out without finality.

What is most important is your willingness to comment and I applaud you. Thank you and very best wishes.

Now, let's ask the editor if she would like to jump in here and bring clarity to the actual reality that Peet's, under certain contractual conditions, will be a coffee store in Alamo. Do we understand our obligations as customers to retain Peet's in Alamo Plaza?

Oh, and by the way, I went to Peet's in Danville on my walk and asked for a great cup of black coffee. Once again, I just could not drink what they offered, tipped the great staff, and threw the coffee away.

Of Ralph feeling quite mild

Posted by Nick, a resident of Blackhawk
on Jul 15, 2011 at 5:18 pm

"Do we understand our obligations as customers to retain Peet's in Alamo Plaza ..."

uh! There is no obligation, if you like what they sell buy it or move on.

Posted by [removed], a resident of Alamo
on Jul 15, 2011 at 5:36 pm

Dear Editor,

It took humor and your reader's response to get to the core of this exchange. The current contract with Peet's has defenses against the history of the site as a community center. Now, as a journalist, you are invited to go discover this specification that could make Peet's a short-term tenant at a cost to the Alamo Plaza investors.

Does that focus your journalism? Does Alamo's former Yellow Wood customers understand the change?

That, editor, should focus this discussion forward.

Posted by Bud, a resident of San Ramon
on Jul 16, 2011 at 10:44 pm

Oh, come on mr. post with the name removed (Hal perhaps?). This article is a simple story about a coffee shop going into Alamo Plaza. Peet's is NOT a community center, man. Tell ya what, why don't you make that place where you get your coffee and donuts a community center instead? Problem solved.

Posted by Julie, a resident of Alamo
on Jul 17, 2011 at 3:36 am

I do miss Yellow Wood, but am glad to see that Peet's will be replacing it. I have been a customer of Peet's since I was a little kid and my brother dragged me to the one in Berkeley. I am just sorry that it is now owned by Starbucks (if that information is actually correct). At least something lame isn't going into that space, like a yarn store or a jewelry store, right?

Posted by Andy, a resident of another community
on Jul 19, 2011 at 12:16 am

It seems to me Alamo needs a nice little park that the folks can meet and relax for a few hours and not be concerned with taking up space. Maybe while renovations are being made the landlord could extend the sidewalk into a nice patio that could be open to all!

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