I heard on the news this morning that Starbucks was planning a closure of existing stores. Approximately 600 outlets will be shuttered and their employees will be relocated to other, surviving, stores, if possible.

From a personal standpoint, I’ve never understood why Starbucks has been as successful (to date) as it is. Its stores don’t have the same welcoming ambiance as most other coffee shops that I have been in; they’re more like a fast food joint for coffee. Of course, again from a personal standpoint, it’s always bugged me that they refuse to use “small medium large” and instead use “vente vedi vici” or whatever. If I were more fundamentalist, I might call that un-American! But what can you expect from a joint out of Seattle?

However, I also never understood how their business model could sustain the number of stores that are opened within shouting distance of each other. Apparently, it can’t. I feel bad for the number of younger folk who are going to be laid off because of this, but maybe other, local stores, will emerge to take up the slack and compete agains the Evil Empire.

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7 Responses to Starbucks

  1. zerj says:

    Well for us the availability of Soymilk always this the standby coffee shop to goto. Additionally most indie coffee shops around here have a different criteria for selecting a nice location. They seem to enjoy being in trendy downtown areas without any access to parking or thoughts of traffic concern. Starbucks doesn’t have such pretentions and will gladly share space in the strip mall with your grocery store.

    I’d much rather goto an indie coffee shop, but with 2 kids and perhaps only having 10 minutes to grab a cup of coffee and requiring soymilk due to alergies, starbucks wins hands down. Sure the ambiance is lame compared to a real shop but being available certainly has something going for it.

    p.s. Oddly enough the local indie coffee shops do not show up in google maps. So having a web savvy marketing presense probably helps for something. Of course I know where they are but they don’t have soy and their they are in the abovementioned hard to get to downtown area.

  2. Bill says:

    There’s a New Orleans based brand of coffee shops/wine bars called PJ’s that has been franchising itself in the southeast. I have on real experience with them except for one store nearby which is in a terrible location. So terrible they’ve gone through three owners so far.

    I can’t describe why that spot doesn’t work but from the beginning, every time I drove past it I thought, “That is not a good place for a coffee shop.” Too bad for them that my gut seems to be right.

  3. Annie says:

    I live in the land of Dunkin Donuts – 5 stores within a 5 mile radius of my house (13 within a 10 mile radius).

    The nearest Starbucks is roughly 20 miles away. I’ve never really been a fan of Starbucks’ coffee, so it doesn’t really bother me.

  4. Bill says:

    I’ve never been a proponent of Starbucks-brand coffee, myself. In fact, one of my former Barista friends, Courntey, says that Starbucks intentionally chars the beans a bit before grinding, which I guess would explain its rather strong flavor.

    And yes, Dunkin Donuts does a good job with their coffee.

  5. Tim says:

    I still hold a bit of a grudge against starbucks as twice now I have had a favorite indie coffee shop go under shortly after a starbucks went in nearby.
    Doesn’t mean I won’t go there…there aren’t any other coffee spots close to me now, and there is a limit to how far out of my way I’m going to go for additional ambiance and/or better coffee (or chai or other things). But it does mean I go out a lot less often to spend time at the coffee shop and enjoy the ambiance after making my purchase.
    Perhaps this will usher in a new wave of of indie coffee shops with the sort of atmosphere and product that I crave. I can hope, but the cynic in me expects the local starbucks to be one of the ones closed and no new coffee shop to move in to replace is…thus forcing me to have to go far afield if I want tasty chai or perhaps a cappichino.

  6. zerj says:

    For straight coffee I think I prefer dunkin as well, as long as you put your own milk/sugar in. They tend to overdo it quite a bit. Still with my wife needing Soy we’re stuck with Starbucks unless we want to wait in the 1/2 mile backup by the rotary in the center of downtown westboro to get to our ‘local’ indie shop.

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