EDMONTON -- While the closure of four—and soon five—Starbucks locations in Edmonton has regular customers confused, a retail expert is excited about the opportunities that could fill the vacancies.

CTV News Edmonton confirmed earlier this week the coffee retail giant would be closing four stores, and that a fifth is slated for closure in the coming weeks.

"Are we closing it cause of recession, or why are we closing it?" asked a west-end Starbucks customer Evan Sagert.

Another, Nadine Lange, said she was surprised at the news given "it's always fairly busy when I've been through in the morning."

Rod Margiotta, a contractor demolishing what was one of the city's oldest Starbucks at High Street, said he's been a recipient of their frustration.

"People are blaming me, or us," he said. "I'm like, 'It has nothing to do with me.'"

"(A) couple people went right up to the till when it looked like this," he added, gesturing at the construction site.

According to the property's manager, Springwood Developments, Starbucks called the space home for 20 of the building's 30 years.

Along with the High Street location, Starbucks stores will also close in Garneau, Miller Crossing and near West Edmonton Mall.

Starbucks told CTV News Edmonton the closures are a "normal part of doing business," and that in addition to five new locations opened in the last half-year, another eight will open by the end of 2020.

But a retail expert with the University of Alberta isn't lamenting the losses.

"The question is: Is Starbucks vacating a neighbourhood a bad thing?" asked Craig Patterson, the university's School of Retailing director of applied research, and Retail Insider's editor in chief.

"I mean it remains to be seen, but it may be a sign of bigger things to come for certain locations."

Indeed, the management company for the High Street space is taking offers for the next tenant.

"Anyone familiar with the Edmonton market recognizes the strategic location and prominent district that is High Street and the 124th street area… I think this is an incredible opportunity for a vibrant café to take amazing positioning from Starbucks, and capture the affluent and trendy customer base in the area," Springwood's Vice President of Leasing, Cindy Casemore-Craig, told CTV News Edmonton in a statement.   

"In fact, now that the word is out that this space is available, we are fielding many expressions of interest and expect to be able to announce a new and exciting café offering for the community very soon."

Several others Starbucks are scheduled for renovations.

With files from CTV Edmonton's Jeremy Thompson and Steven Dyer