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Starbucks, bagel shop coming to a busy section of this Boise street

Mark Hansen, owner of Blue Sky Bagels, is opening a new store on busy State Street in the space once filled by River City Coffee & Cafe.
Mark Hansen, owner of Blue Sky Bagels, is opening a new store on busy State Street in the space once filled by River City Coffee & Cafe. mlagnga@idahostatesman.com

Starbucks probably doesn’t realize it, but the Seattle-based caffeine behemoth has a lot to do with the future plans of one Boise-based bagel bakery.

The bakery is a home-grown company with three stores, soon to become four. An enterprise whose boiled breads are baked fresh in the Treasure Valley five days a week. Whose Downtown flagship has been in business for the past 16 years at Fourth and Main streets.

Blue Sky Bagels owner Mark Hansen had been eyeing the low-slung, gray Lake Harbor business center as a possible site for future expansion. Eddie’s diner is in the neighborhood, but quick breakfast options in that stretch of busy State Street, between Plantation Country Club and Collister Drive, are slim.

Lake Harbor is just off of what he calls the “a.m. side” of State Street – an easy right turn into the parking lot for commuters heading east to jobs Downtown.

Except that a new Starbucks store is in the final throes of construction on the Lake Harbor property’s State Street edge. And Starbucks doesn’t like to have coffee competitors anywhere near its outlets. Starbucks did not respond to requests for comment.

“Starbucks has exclusive coffee rights to that development,” Hansen said. “I may have stuck with that (property) and put up with it, if I didn’t have other options.”

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A pergola reaches toward State Street from this new Starbucks, which will replace one closed at State and Veterans Memorial Parkway when the Ada County Highway District began to rebuild that intersection. This Starbucks is one mile northwest of the old one. David Staats dstaats@idahostatesman.com

A very recent other option at that. Hansen is taking over the site of River City Coffee & Café, which announced July 15 that it was closing its 5517 W. State Street location, which is less than half a mile northwest of Lake Harbor. River City still operates an outlet at the Boise Airport.

River City General Manager Nick Stinemates told the Statesman in July that the closure was “mainly due to increased competition and a struggle to find qualified labor.”

If the permit process goes smoothly, Hansen said he hopes to revamp the old River City shop and open his new Blue Sky outlet in the next six to 12 weeks, before Thanksgiving.

The new shop will differ from Hansen’s others in one important way. Blue Sky’s 14 varieties of bagels are created at the company’s Downtown location and are baked on site there and at the Fairview Avenue and Chinden Boulevard stores. But the new shop will not be able to bake its own. Instead, they will be baked at the Chinden store and shuttled over at least three times a day.

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Blue Sky Bagel’s Downtown outlet opened its doors at 407 W. Main St. in 2002. It’s still in operation. The company’s fourth outlet, on State Street, is scheduled to open by Thanksgiving. Maria L. La Ganga mlaganga@idahstatesman.com

“They’ll still be fresh bagels,” Hansen said, “just not hot bagels.”

Maria L. La Ganga: 208-377-6431, @marialaganga
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