Caribou Coffee is converting to the Peet's Coffee & Tea brand in the Baltimore area, and one of the four area locations, in Owings Mills, will close on Sunday.

The Reisterstown Road Caribou is one of 80 "underperforming" stores the company said it decided to close after closely evaluating markets over the past few months.

The three other Baltimore area Caribou coffee shops, in Hunt Valley Towne Centre in Hunt Valley, in Gambrills and at North Charles and Fayette streets in downtown Baltimore, will stay open but will be re-branded over the next year and a half.

The changes are part of a new business strategy for the Minneapolis-based coffee chain, said Caribou CEO Mike Tattersfield in a statement.

The Starbucks rival has spent the past few months “closely evaluating our performance by market to make decisions that best position us for long-term growth,” Tattersfield said.

Besides closing 80 stores, the chain will convert 88 coffeehouses in Maryland, Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Washington D.C., Virginia, Georgia, Illinois and Eastern Wisconsin to the Peet’s brand.

That will leave 468 Caribou Coffee shops open across Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Western Wisconsin, Iowa, Kansas, North Carolina, Denver and 10 international markets, the statement said.

Company officials declined on Thursday to identify the stores that will close or be re-branded. A manager at the Caribou on North Charles Street said employees were told about the Owings Mills closing and the re-branding of the other area Caribous but were given no timetable for the conversion.

Peet's got its start in 1966 when Alfred Peet opened a small coffee shop in Berkeley, Calif. The chain now operates in six states, mainly California and elsewhere on the West Coast.

Caribou and Peet’s, both of which are owned by Joh. A. Benckiser Group, will maintain separate operations, brands and growth strategies, Tattersfield said.

lorraine.mirabella@baltsun.com