urban coffee opportunities
November 16, 2001 12:44 PM   Subscribe

urban coffee opportunities according to this map, there are 38 starbucks within my area code alone. and right down the block, there are 2 out of 4 storefronts, of which this map only notes one: meaning there are more coffee opportunities available. this is the full link, since i think the first one got cut off.

idea from adbusters, but i did the work myself!
posted by whoshotwho (40 comments total)
I'm not sure I understand...
posted by starvingartist at 12:48 PM on November 16, 2001

I sure don't (understand). You mean Adbusters now advocates making lists of local Starbucks? For convenience or what?
posted by sylloge at 12:54 PM on November 16, 2001

no, in adbusters they had a similar map of nyc identifying every mcdonalds. since there is a place on the next block with storefronts going starbucks, tailor, pharmacy, starbucks, and at least one other place in this city where you can find two starbucks on one block (sansome st, for sf-ers) i thought it would be interesting to make such a map for the area. apologies to those who find little wrong with such ubiquitous saturation of the city by the coffee pushers.
posted by whoshotwho at 12:57 PM on November 16, 2001

No, this is part of the adbuster "buy nothing day" campaign ... Though I think coffee shops are the least of our worries. If you want to make a difference (other than the buy nothing day campaign), patronize the unique local versions of McCoffee that you like.
posted by purplecow at 12:58 PM on November 16, 2001

Just check out the opportunities for manapua retail locations in my area code.

Can someone explain the point of the "Starbucks is bad" thing? It seems like petty yuppie resentment to me. Along with the McDonalds bashing thing this is part of the left-wing class warfare thing, where symbol bashing passes for political comment.
posted by phatboy at 1:00 PM on November 16, 2001

my personal favorite:
Starbucks Coffee Co 1100 Robson St Vancouver (604) 685-7991
Starbucks Coffee Co 1099 Robson St Vancouver (604) 685-1099

these are diagonally across the street from one another. i'm sure you could find some similarities in Phoenix among the 290 Circle K convenience markets.
posted by donkeysuck at 1:02 PM on November 16, 2001

I won't bore you with the maps and details, but here in Northern Virginia, 7 Eleven's are the ubiquitous presence. There are 15 within 3 miles of me.
posted by crunchland at 1:03 PM on November 16, 2001

Here are the Starbucks in Vancouver (from here).
posted by timothompson at 1:10 PM on November 16, 2001

Starbucks locations across the street from each other? Sounds like Best In Show to me.
posted by tippiedog at 1:11 PM on November 16, 2001

yeah, but donkeysuck
Each Starbucks on Robson serves a different clientele. On one side, the elite paper-reading snobs (who do they think they are, with their paper?). On the other, the artistic types (who do they think they are, with their art?). The two stores are bitter rivals. Those who are neutral go to a juice bar.
posted by starduck at 1:11 PM on November 16, 2001

> Starbucks Coffee Co 1100 Robson St Vancouver (604) 685-7991
> Starbucks Coffee Co 1099 Robson St Vancouver (604) 685-1099

These are the two that inspired the bit in Best of Show, and they are right on my way to work every day. When I pass them in the morning (anywhere from 8:30 to 10:30) there are lineups in both, and they are both pretty large locations.

I think Vancouver probably has a higher concentration of SBUX than even Seattle.

> apologies to those who find little wrong with such ubiquitous saturation of the city by the coffee pushers.

Give me a break: it's that you offered no explantion at all. It sounded like you were interested in getting a franchise or something ("opportunities").
Post-preview: Wow. Hot topic.
posted by sylloge at 1:14 PM on November 16, 2001

The ones in question, from timothompson's link: South side + north side of Robson.
posted by sylloge at 1:18 PM on November 16, 2001

I'm so accustomed to "urban" being used as a euphemism for "black", that I figured you were probably commenting on the relative scarcity of Starbucks in poor "urban" areas as opposed to rich "white" ones. The adbusters link also lent to the mistaken impression that there was some political comment on your behalf.

I live in Seattle. While the Starbucks density is of course high, I am amused by rival brand Tully's, who consistently attempts to leech Starbucks customers off by setting up shop practically next to them.
posted by O9scar at 1:27 PM on November 16, 2001

Not at new tactic (rivals setting up shop next to or across from a successful store). You can always find a Burger King next to (or very near) a McDonald's. Papa John's usually sets up in vicinity to Pizza Hut. The idea being, let your competitor spend the money on the market research, wait to see if the location is successful, and then move in.
posted by Vek at 1:35 PM on November 16, 2001

Can someone explain the point of the "Starbucks is bad" thing? It seems like petty yuppie resentment to me. Along with the McDonalds bashing thing this is part of the left-wing class warfare thing, where symbol bashing passes for political comment.

Yep. We darned liberals just hate symbols and logos. We really don't give a damn about rainforests being leveled to make more grazing land to feed the cows that eventually become hamburgers—and who cares that the grain fed to these cows could feed 100x as many people as the meat that comes from the cow. We don't boycott these groups because they are screwing up the environment, or people's health. It's all about hating groups because they are successful.
posted by terrapin at 1:42 PM on November 16, 2001

I'm still confused
posted by Outlawyr at 2:01 PM on November 16, 2001

At work, there was a Starbucks in the B&N across the street, another Starbucks one block down (i nice 30 second walk) and another that was about 1 minute drive down...all on the same side of the street. Here in Athens (UGA-> college town of there ever was one), they opened a Starbucks right next to the biggie local coffee shop and people were up in arms over it. Personally, i love Starbucks...At least i know i'm getting the same thing at every shop (i only go w/ specialty drinks, i hate black).
posted by jmd82 at 2:15 PM on November 16, 2001


Why not protest the rainforest depletion then? I.e. why not address the real issues and not the symbolic ones? I get very frustrated with the starbucks/mcd bashing because it draws attention away from actual problems. In the case of McDonalds, it also serves to alienate any lower-income constituency the left should want to pick up. Adbusters is the worst offender in this regard, IMHO at best they preach to the converted. At worst they help perpetuate the problems they ostensibly protest by drawing attention away from the real culprits.

Why obsess about only the manifestations of third world poverty that exist in your neighborhood, especially since these manifestations are multiple times removed from the actual bad-guys? This will never solve the real problem.
posted by phatboy at 2:17 PM on November 16, 2001

Here in Athens (UGA-> college town of there ever was one), they opened a Starbucks right next to the biggie local coffee shop and people were up in arms over it.

Which one? Jittery Joe's? [checks] Blue Sky? Oh, that's fucking rotten. One thing I loved about downtown Athens -- all three blocks by four of it -- was that it was free of big chains. (There's always the malls if you fancy such anodyne delights.) And Athens isn't particularly lacking in caffeine retail outlets, even without the arrival of the Big Coffee Monster in the most prominent bit of downtown. Dear God, give it a few years, and it'll be Little Atlanta.

Why not protest the rainforest depletion then? I.e. why not address the real issues and not the symbolic ones?

Totally agreed here, for completely different reasons. The real issue is that the homogenisation of urban areas through the growth of franchises kills neighbourhoods. (It's a slippery slope, because it's generally easier to set up a franchise than a sole-proprietor outlet, and the prospect of incoming franchises creates an incentive for landlords to raise business rents.) Downtown Atlanta, for instance, is a dead zone. Why? There's hardly anything there that doesn't have another branch out in the suburbs. Compare it to Amsterdam, where you'll see a much higher proportion of distinctive, small-scale, proprietor-owned shops, and you'll appreciate why I hated spending time in Atlanta.
posted by holgate at 2:49 PM on November 16, 2001

well i certainly didn't mean to confuse the post so much, i'll try to be more clear next time. anyway, "urban coffee opportunity" is a euphemism for a specific type of starbucks experience. click here and look at the "select a store type" menu.

i'm not bashing the logo. i just think it pretty much sucks that lots of solo effort stores have gotten run out of business to be replaced by 2 Starbucks on the SAME CITY BLOCK. and if that doesn't strike someone as a bad sign, I don't know where to begin explaining.

but of my three front page posts to MetaFilter, I'd say this one is doing best!
posted by whoshotwho at 2:51 PM on November 16, 2001

phatboy: although i've only been reading adbusters for about 6 months now, they are preaching to the converted, and the pulpit is getting higher by the day. however, the "I want to live" issue, about three issues ago, is one of the best single issues of any magazine ever.
posted by whoshotwho at 2:53 PM on November 16, 2001

holgate- i was referring to bluesky. I know there's other out there, but with all the t-shirts i see form them and all... The cool think about bluesky is the glassware. Nothing better than a hot-chocolate in a beer mug
posted by jmd82 at 3:04 PM on November 16, 2001

I just canceled my subscription to adbusters. I was paging through an issue a few weeks ago and found myself wondering why the hell I had subscribed to it in the first place. They bitch and bitch and bitch but never offer any solutions. By that process they render themselves practically useless. So, well, fuck them.

(By the way, I like the way they dodged the entire war issue. Wimps.)
posted by mrbula at 3:31 PM on November 16, 2001

I must live in the boondocks, there are only 10 Starbuckses in San Diego, 92103
posted by rschram at 3:58 PM on November 16, 2001

I think since I left Florida, they're still holding out well against the Starbucks forces from the West. Only a few scouts seem to have made it to Fort Lauderdale, but it seems they have decided to come in from the south - no doubt with the aid of Castro. Support the South Florida Frapuccino Resistance! Viva La Resistance!

(I actually think all the anti-Starbucks ying-yang is silly)
posted by owillis at 4:12 PM on November 16, 2001

2 local shops right downtown where i am, and then a starbucks. Starbucks gets a different crowd, younger, you can see them getting used to the whole hanging-out-in-the-coffee-shop deal, which is cute. The local shops are great, and also have real food--good food.

but they are local, and owner-operated, and the owners like to be at home every once in a while to watch star trek, so they aren't open as late. Starbucks, the place to go when everyone else is closed and AM/PM 'mocha' won't do.

though...man...that carmel apple cider they have right now is Grrreat.
posted by th3ph17 at 5:54 PM on November 16, 2001

Just two weeks ago in Oklahoma City we have had our first stand alone Starbucks open, then again, maybe not. There is another just around the block from where I am right now that will open any day now.
I will just continue to patronize the locally owned coffee shop that is around the other corner.
posted by genapathy at 6:08 PM on November 16, 2001

It's always a hoot when MeFi posters rear up on their hind legs like this, snarling at Starbucks.
posted by KLAX at 7:01 PM on November 16, 2001


Filepile (shh, "the first rule is that I'm not supposed to say anything about...") actually had various maps posted back in august when the Adbusters issue hit newstands.

I've broken several filepile rules and re-posted a collage that a fellow filepiler put together.

The image is worth the infraction, what with the picture being worth blah blah blah....
posted by shoepal at 7:03 PM on November 16, 2001

why not address the real issues and not the symbolic ones?

Because one thinks globally and acts locally. If you are implying that simply boycotting a company is not enough. I agree. One should do more than protest with their wallet.
posted by terrapin at 8:06 PM on November 16, 2001

My favorite here in New York (at least on the trendy Upper West Side) is the Duane Reade drugstore chain. There used to be 'enough' everywhere.. then they bought out this chain 'Love's' and then there were 'twice as many as you'd ever need' - and then they built new ones!!! Wow!

There's a chance some might have closed (I don't live off Broadway anymore, so I don't spend as much time on it up here) - but I swear that between 96th st and 116th st there were 75 Duane Reades at some point. (Only 2 Starbucks I think.. maybe just one.. and umm.. I don't think there's any Mc D's - maybe one on 96th or something)...

Peace out.
posted by QrysDonnell at 11:04 PM on November 16, 2001

Hee hee, no Starbucks; in fact no chains in Lisbon, unless you count four branches of an Italian import which is failing miserably. No, just tens of thousands of cafés, each one privately owned, all different, almost all serving real coffee, dozens of pastries, biscuits, savouries and hot, buttered toast. An expresso and two thick slices of toast cost just over a dollar. Or €1.10 in euros. :)
posted by MiguelCardoso at 2:00 AM on November 17, 2001

Here's what's wrong with Starbucks. Starbucks' business model doesn't have space for them to open one outlet in each town and be finished. Instead, Starbucks has to colonise city by city, just like Wal-Mart. Where Wal-Mart discovered they could cut distribution costs by having a number of megastores in each locale surrounding a distribution centre, Starbucks discovered that they can break competition, increase market share and promote the brand most effectively by opening multiple stores in each city. This means having two Starbucks on the city's major street, if possible, so that there's one at each end. Starbucks is always nearer, it is always there, it's at the front of your mind.

But here's the catch: unlike most businesses (and unlike any small coffee shop) Starbucks is happy to *lose* money on individual stores as long as it makes money on the whole. The colonisation is more important than any individual store making a profit. Starbucks thinks nothing, therefore, of approaching a landlord and saying: "Ye Olde Coffee shop is paying you $xxxx dollars a month rent, I'll pay you $xxxxxx more rent." When Starbucks decided to colonise London, it first bought out an existing chain of coffee shops. Fine, nothing unusual there. But it outbid other retailers for the same locations by such incredible amounts that no small business (or even big business such as Boots) could afford to pay to rent those shopfronts.

It's pure capitalism and I'm sure most of you will be happy to defend it. But all I can give as an example is how two or three independent cafés in my area, which have been open as long as I have been here (7 years), have closed down lately. Meanwhile there are three Starbucks near me, all within a five minute walk. People will go to Starbucks because there *is no other choice*. This is the homogenous globalised market. The fact that Starbucks dress themselves up with mildly new-age environmental bullshit just adds insult to injury.
posted by skylar at 2:15 AM on November 17, 2001

But people did have a choice before the indie shops closed down, didn't they? And they chose Starbucks (underhanded pricing or not). So much for neighborhood nostalgia.
posted by owillis at 2:47 AM on November 17, 2001

Owillis, yours is a very simplistic view, especially given my explanation above. Often now there is no straight choice between a Starbucks and an independent coffee house, because Starbucks has outbid the smaller retailers on the turf to deliberately kill competition.

Starbucks is happy to bankroll a store that makes a loss: in a percentage of their stores they pay more money in rent than they make back in coffee. If Starbucks offers a landlord more rent, or if Starbucks drives rent prices up, even a successful independent retailer may not be able to compete. The independent store may be full every day, they may be selling a lot of coffee, their customers may be choosing them (as with one of the cafés near me, which was always full), but the economics no longer stack up. An independent retailer cannot subsidise high rents on profits it makes in other stores.... because it does not have any other stores.
posted by skylar at 3:15 AM on November 17, 2001

BTW before I get flamed to death, I'm not saying this happens in every instance, just that it has been known to happen. Starbucks' brand of business practice is not illegal, it is used by other companies and is just illustrative of today's globalised capitalism.
posted by skylar at 3:22 AM on November 17, 2001

Interesting places what I have seen with Starbucks in them and wondered, WTF? Hows that going to work?:

Number 1: Thailand

I can't see how Starbuck's city by city "brand bombing" technique (the saturation method described by Naomi Klein and outlined by skylar above) will work in Thailand. Perhaps they have an alternative model targeted at tourists. I thought Thai people had a largely dairy free diet(could someone clarify?) .

Number 2: Australia

I am curious as to whether the brand will succeed in Australia. Sydney and Melbourne already have a well established and thriving cafe society. If their saturation technique works here, then we're all doomed (Watch out, MiguelCardoso, Lisbon could be next).

I do wonder on which side of the fence Starbucks stood when it came to the recent furore over coffee advertising on cafe funiture in Sydney. I couldn't find a more recent link, but if this was passed it gives a very clear advantage to Starbucks in terms of grabbing the impulse coffee consumer.

Also, has anyone else been surprised at the rise in McCafe numbers? I remember being freaked out by the first one I saw in Amsterdam about 6 years ago. I have now seen them all over the world and they debuted in the US earlier this year.
posted by davehat at 4:36 AM on November 17, 2001

"There are no Starbucks within 3 miles of your zipcode."

I must be living right!
posted by Taken Outtacontext at 5:04 AM on November 17, 2001

Starbucks' strategy is a lot like Wal-mart's, as Skylar has explained. They recently got into a bidding war with Tully's (corporate motto: "we do what Starbucks does!") over an odd triangular building perched on the corner of 4th and Pike near Westlake in Seattle. So determined were they to obtain this property - one block from a Starbucks to the south, one block from a Starbucks to the east, and about four hundred yards from a Starbucks inside the mall itself - that they ended up negotiating the most expensive lease in the city. Seattle's Best Coffee, which held the spot for ten years, is not terribly happy about being driven out - but never fear, Seattle's Best lovers, there's another one three blocks away...

posted by Mars Saxman at 10:53 AM on November 17, 2001

Actually, there's another SBC a block south, unless they've closed it in the last three months. According to the first article contested property is at 4th and Pine (not Pike), but there is indeed another SBC at 4th and Pike.
posted by kindall at 3:57 PM on November 17, 2001

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