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Caribou: Free Decaf Friday Afternoon

The Business Journal of the Greater Triad Area - by John Vomhof Jr.

A day after Starbucks Corp. said it will continuously brew decaffeinated coffee only until noon to trim costs, Caribou Coffee Co. Inc. responded Thursday by announcing it will give away free decaf. Well, at least for one afternoon.

Brooklyn Center, Minn.-based Caribou (NASDAQ: CBOU) will offer free 12-ounce cups of decaffeinated coffee from noon until close at all of its stores on Friday. The company has a store at Friendly Center in Greensboro.

"Decaf drinkers deserve better," Caribou Coffee Senior Vice President of Marketing Alfredo Martel said in a statement. "Caribou Coffee is first and foremost a coffeehouse, emphasis on coffee. We strive to give our customers the very best coffee, when, where and how they want it. And if that means a cup of decaffeinated coffee in the afternoon, then we're more than happy to oblige."

It should be noted that Seattle-based Starbucks (NASDAQ: SBUX) still will serve decaf by request in the afternoon. Customers just might have to wait a couple minutes for it to brew. The company said the move would save it $400 million by September.

On Thursday, Starbucks also announced it would cut 6,700 jobs and close 300 stores .

Starbucks is the nation's largest coffee chain. Caribou is second.

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