In a push to preserve the character of its community, a grassroots group in Toronto’s Hillcrest neighbourhood is fighting to save a corporate coffee shop.

Patrons of the Starbucks at the corner of St. Clair Avenue West and Christie Street have been told the cafe will close at the end of August, and they are begging the company to reconsider.

The reason: they say their Starbucks is so much more than just a coffee shop.

“This is a place that serves the needs of such a diverse group of people, that you get a stronger sense of being part of the neighbourhood,” organizer Ian Cosh told CTV News Toronto.

Cosh says the shop acts as a community hub, bringing together neighbours from different walks of life. There are other coffee shops in the area, but he insists none of the other options functions as a similar gathering place.

“Our neighbourhoods really need places like this, and in our neighbourhood it’s Starbucks that provides this type of place,” said Cosh.

The group has collected the signatures of more than 500 local residents, asking the head office to reconsider the decision to close this location.

Local councillor Josh Matlow has expressed his support for the campaign, tweeting “We love and strongly support all of our community’s independent coffee shops. But it’s also true that there are some Starbucks that really act like a local gathering place. This is one of them.”

The group has not heard back from Starbucks Canada. The company has not responded to CTV News Toronto’s request for comment, but has previously said that every year some stores are closed or relocated as a normal part of doing business.

Cosh insists that if Starbucks truly wants to foster community togetherness, it will reconsider its decision to close up shop in his neighbourhood.

“One way or another in Hillcrest, Starbucks is going to show all Canadians what kind of company it wants to be,” he said.