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Why gooey butter cake specialist Park Avenue Coffee is doubling down on downtown

The coffee and baked goods retailer will take over the space Starbucks vacated last year at the corner of 6th and Olive streets
Credit: SLBJ
Park Avenue Coffee will take over the space previously occupied by Starbucks on the corner of Sixth and Olive streets in downtown.

ST. LOUIS — Park Avenue Coffee this month will open a second location in downtown St. Louis, filling what CEO and Owner Dale Schott calls a "specialty coffee void" left with the departure of the neighborhood's standalone Starbucks location.

The coffee and baked goods retailer — which touts its varieties of gooey butter cake, a St. Louis staple — will take over the space Starbucks vacated last year at the corner of Sixth and Olive streets, across the street from One Metropolitan Square, one of downtown's largest office buildings.

The new store will only be about five blocks east of Park Avenue's current downtown location at 417 N. 10th St., which Schott launched 10 years ago and intends to continue operating. While Starbucks still operates a location inside the St. Louis Marriott Grand Hotel, a few blocks north on Washington Avenue, Schott believes the departure of the standalone store left a void for office dwellers in that part of downtown.

"The folks (in those office buildings) getting the coffee in the middle of the day aren’t walking five blocks to get it. We don’t have a lot of those people making the trip to our 10th Street location," he said.

Though the project has faced some delays, Schott has tentatively scheduled the new location to open on July 19.

It will be the sixth Park Avenue Coffee location. The business began 15 years ago on Park Avenue in Lafayette Square before expanding five years later with the downtown location. It then added a store within its roasting facility on The Hill, then to the Cortex Innovation Community and a fifth store in Washington, Missouri.

Its expansion downtown appears counter to a recent trend of closures — some permanent, some temporary — among quick-service food and beverage options in that area. 

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