Construction is underway for a new Starbucks location set to open on the first floor of the Joyce Cummings Center as early as this summer, Tufts’ Director of Auxiliary Services Jason McClellan confirmed in an email to the Daily.
The new store from the global coffee brand will be limited to pickup orders, and its entrance will be near the new MBTA Green Line stop set to open this spring. The university is working with Starbucks on the possibility of offering JumboCash as a payment method, McClellan said.
The cafe will become the only major retailer to lease space inside a university-owned building on the Medford/Somerville campus. It will join Hotung, Kindlevan, Mugar and Tower cafes — all operated by Tufts Dining — as well as the student-run cafe The Sink as the sixth cafe on campus.
McClellan told the Daily in November that the university was in negotiations with a cafe provider but did not specify which brand the school was considering. Tufts initially offered the space to local coffee shops and cafes, but none showed serious interest, McClellan said.
Revival Cafe + Kitchen and Nine Bar Espresso, both coffeehouses with locations in Davis Square, told the Daily via email that their shops were not under consideration for leasing the new space. Tamper Cafe, which, according to McClellan, leases space from the university in its current location, declined to comment.
The new Starbucks store will offer pickup orders only, part of a companywide initiative to encourage use of the Starbucks mobile app and expedite ordering, the company’s website says.
There are fewer than 50 pickup-only Starbucks shops in the United States and only one in Massachusetts, according to the Starbucks website, but the brand concept has grown quickly since the pandemic began.
The first Starbucks pickup shop opened in Manhattan in November of 2019, just before the onset of the pandemic. Since then, the multinational coffeehouse chain said it was closing up to 400 stores nationwide and shifting its focus toward pickup-only shops like the one moving into the Cummings Center.
Sink manager Luca Rogoff told the Daily in an email that he and his two co-managers aren’t concerned about the arrival of the new cafe, which could potentially rival the student-run shop.
“There’s a lot of places around here to get coffee, but people come to the Sink for the heart and soul of a student run atmosphere,” Rogoff wrote in an email. “I imagine they’ll still come even with another Starbucks nearby.”
Sophomore Azita Shirinzadeh, a loyal Sink customer, said she’ll continue to order her favorite espresso drink — a Lucy in the Chai with oat milk — from the student-run shop even after the new Starbucks arrives. Shirinzadeh said she mainly frequents The Sink because it’s located near her downhill dorm, but she also enjoys the atmosphere.
“It’s really nice to just see a friend working behind the counter,” Shirinzadeh, who hails from Starbucks capital of the world Seattle, Wash., said. “I do like Starbucks, but I do think … going to The Sink has made me so particular about my coffee.”
McClellan said he does not expect the new Starbucks to heighten congestion in the Cummings Center, since the cafe will have its own entrance.
“We think Starbucks will satisfy high demand within our university community and beyond for Starbucks’ coffee and other goods,” McClellan wrote. “The University is excited to partner with Starbucks on their innovative pickup-only concept for the Cummings Center. We believe the pick-up only concept is ideal for our students, faculty, and staff as well as the greater Medford/Somerville Community.”
Hotung Cafe will continue to sell Starbucks-brand coffee next year after the new store moves in, director of Tufts Dining Patti Klos wrote in an email to the Daily.