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Starbucks opening Friday morning on Thompson Bridge Road
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The Starbucks on Thompson Bridge Road has a video drive-thru where customers and baristas can see each other. - photo by Clark Leonard

Coffee lovers have another reason to smile. The Starbucks on Thompson Bridge Road opens at 5 a.m. Friday.

The new Starbucks has a video drive-thru where customers and baristas can both see each other. It also features outdoor seating.

The coffee shop is in the same shopping center as a Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market and across the street from Taco Bell.

Developer Rock Baker of Bre-Rock LLC previously redeveloped the Publix shopping center just down the road and lives nearby. He said people who work downtown have told him they’re excited about having a Starbucks they can get to with more ease rather than having to go to Dawsonville Highway for their coffee fix.

Starbucks will have a new neighbor in the building before long. Baker said he has secured a tenant that will be a “great addition to the neighborhood” to take up the other two-thirds of the building at 1429 Thompson Bridge Road. He said he should be able to announce that company in the near future.

The developer originally was prepared for as many as three other tenants filling out the space.

Baker said the new Starbucks has 25 people on payroll and that employees trained at other Starbucks locations ahead of the opening.

The parking lot at the coffee shop was freshly paved earlier this week.

This marks the second Starbucks in a shopping center in Hall County, in addition to the company’s locations in Kroger stores and the Target in Flowery Branch.

Also in Hall County, plans were announced in December for a stand-alone Starbucks at Merchants Crossing Shopping Center at 3707 Mundy Mill Road in Oakwood.

When plans for the Thompson Bridge Road Starbucks were announced in March, Baker said he planned to spend $600,000 redeveloping the building, which was previously a Blockbuster.

And Baker, who has projects across the Southeast, has been a regular presence during work on the building.

“I really want this to go well,” Baker said. “It’s in my backyard.”