Philz Coffee opens location near new Safeway Complex on College Avenue

Rachael Garner/Staff

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A new Philz Coffee location opened for business Tuesday in the new Safeway complex on College Avenue in Oakland.

This is the third Philz Coffee to open in East Bay and the first in Oakland, though Peet’s Coffee & Tea, Cole Coffee and Starbucks all have stores within a block of Philz Coffee. Despite this competition, store leader Buthina Rashid said Philz Coffee will be successful because it offers a high level of quality in both its beverages and its service.

“Philz is the best because it’s personalized. It’s made just for you,” Rashid said. “A lot of other places have their coffee made already, but here we brew it for each person just as they order it, one cup at a time.”

The store itself is modern-looking and spacious, with lounge seating and a long row of outlets for charging electronic devices. According to Rashid, the attention provided to these amenities does not make Philz Coffee more expensive than other similar establishments.

“We have gourmet coffee and a great environment, but our prices are almost the same as everywhere else,” Rashid said.

Customers who commented on the new Philz Coffee location expressed satisfaction with the taste of their coffee and with the atmosphere inside the store.

“This place is great,” said UC Berkeley alumna Aileen Lu while she was seated in the store’s lounge area. “There’s a ton of communal workspace, which is really nice, and it’s definitely more accessible for me than the one in North Berkeley.”

When asked which local coffee establishment was her favorite, Lu answered unequivocally.

“I’d definitely prefer going to Philz,” she said. “The coffee is really good, and there’s Wi-Fi with comfortable places to sit. If I needed somewhere to chill for a couple hours, I’d come here.”

Philz Coffee regulars, such as West Oakland resident Lindsay Focht, praised the new location’s ambiance, saying that it was much “less hectic” than the other locations she has frequented. UC Berkeley sophomore Panda Kreidler singled out the charismatic baristas as integral to producing the “fun experience” Philz Coffee offers.

Dave Goettge, who owns the recently opened Great Clips hair salon next to Philz Coffee, said he believed the upscale environment in the area would generate business for both stores.

“We’re good business partners,” Goettge said. “People are definitely going to be more inclined to get their hair cut here with such beautiful businesses like Philz nearby.”

Neighboring coffee shops were generally more reluctant to comment on the new Philz Coffee. Cole Coffee spokesperson and co-owner Desiree Salas-Murphy, however, said in an email that the store’s “loyal customer base … isn’t going anywhere.”

Contact Logan Goldberg at [email protected].