Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Sneaky Starbucks

Starbucks has taken a surprising new step towards world domination. They have opened a new coffeehouse (obviously this is not the surprising part). The new coffeehouse is called 15th Ave. Coffee & Tea. This is an attempt by Starbucks to "create a distinct, bespoke, of-the-neighbourhood coffeehouse"... all qualities that you wouldn't associate with your run-of-the-mill Starbucks. Blogger Peter Merholz believes this new venture by Starbucks is "doomed to failure, because there's no way a corporate coffee chain can create an authentic neighborhood coffeehouse experience." I would agree. I feel bad for those coffeehouses that ARE authentic. Not only do they have to worry about regular Starbucks outlets, but now they have to worry about Starbucks outlets masquerading as neighbourhood coffeehouses!

Even here in Ottawa, there are at least 27 Starbucks outlets. I must admit, when it gets a bit colder outside, I frequent Starbucks for their pumpkin spice lattes. I'm reminded of when I'd bring a Starbucks cup into my graduate classes at Carleton University, much to the dismay of my socially-conscious classmates who saw this as a major faux-pas. While I do think it is great to support local businesses and less great to support a faceless, super-powerful corporation, you can't fight the fact that they serve some delicious beverages! However, while I can't help but love Starbucks, I think they should stick to what they do well and not try to take what little the little guys out there have left.