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this news is like an angelic choir singing in my ears. the news of a free-standing store, seconds away from my house is the icing on the cake.

Perk up, coffee drinkers

SAINT JOHN – American coffee giant Starbucks is upping the ante in the brewing war with Canadian icon Tim Hortons.

Starbucks announced Thursday it will open its first free-standing retail outlet in New Brunswick at East Point Shopping, on the city’s East Side.

Patrick Keefe, the vice-president of operations for Coffee Vision Atlantic, the company that owns the exclusive rights to operate Starbucks outlets in Atlantic Canada, joined Mayor Norm McFarlane and East Point developer Troy Northrup to announce the province’s first such outlet – Starbucks operates smaller outlets in Chapters bookstores in Dieppe and Fredericton – will be open before Christmas.

The Starbucks will be located just off Westmorland Road, on Depot Drive, adjacent to the Home Depot store.

“There are a couple of reasons that we chose Saint John,” said Keefe. “The customers have been asking us to come here. They’ve been calling us and some people who have visited our locations in Halifax have been asking when we’re coming to Saint John. That piqued our interest. And with all the big things that are happening in Saint John – all the announcements – the city is a very attractive market.”

Keefe said the plans call for a 2,000-square-foot outlet with all the amenities – including a fireplace and comfortable seating for about 35 customers – and a drive-through window.

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i just need dates. i’m trying to plan the fall, but it is difficult to fully plan without dates of openings.