Rather than replace Larry Suggs Java Juice Extreme with another contracted coffee shop, Veterans Canteen Service will now offer “We Proudly Serve Starbucks” products, served by canteen service staff members.
That’s the latest word from the canteen service’s headquarters in St. Louis, which said when the coffee counter was disassembled in November during a floor remodel several environmental and infrastructure issues were discovered. It did not specify what those issues were; however, Suggs said the problem he was told about was mildew.
For the past 10 years, Larry’s Java Juice Extreme has offered coffee to veterans in the Rose…
The cancellation of Suggs’ contract in December drew the ire of some of his veteran customers, who said his coffee shop provided an atmosphere that many veterans struggling with mental illness found therapeutic. Some signed a petition and staged a small demonstration outside the VA Thursday in hopes of persuading the canteen service to re-up the contract.
Spokeswoman Chelsea Anderson-McCadney said in an email Friday that won’t happen.
She said once the coffee shop was disassembled, the canteen service decided it was not safe to continue the operation. It also would have been expensive to rebuild a new coffee shop to meet code requirements, she said.
“VCS does value the feelings and feedback from our Veterans. VCS recognizes the important relationships and excellent customer environment built by Mr. Suggs. The issue here is operational safety as we render services to our Veterans,” she said.
While the canteen service will be offering Starbucks coffee, it’s not a Starbucks franchise and other coffee, drinks and foods will be available. Revenue generated through canteen service sales supports other veteran programs. There is ample seating at the Veterans Canteen Service Cafe, Anderson-McCadney said.
She said the decision doesn’t represent a negative reflection on the quality of Suggs’ product or service. She said Suggs was offered the opportunity to bid on a contract for a larger, newer coffee shop in Eugene but declined.