I know I have readers that are completely anti-Starbucks. The vitriol is spewed along with the hate of chain stores, fatty food, sprawl, cars and everything else a good Charter-believing New Urbanist is supposed to hate.
I used to be you. Then I found out the place sold really good tea and cold drinks. My dumb very young professional self thought the only thing Starbucks sold was gourmet coffee. This drove an ex boss of mine crazy. I was working in start-up culture, why didn’t I like Starbucks?
Well, it’s been four years and as I type this in Starbucks, where I also meet with another boss of mine on certain mornings, I can’t help but think about what a salvation this place has been. Because of Starbucks, I feel ok going into other coffee shops, ordering other non-coffee drinks and getting work done. The Starbucks I regularly frequent is on the side of town that is mostly black and mostly low-income or solid middle class. Yet, thanks to a location near a highway, it’s both convenient for the farmers, the road-warriors, the Walmart shoppers and the “boys from the hood” nearby.
Starbucks is really a beacon in the sky in many neighborhoods without a coffee shop culture. In some places, the tipping point for local, green-oriented commerce has not swung back the other way. Starbucks serves a a greener version of McDonald’s for those of us who have to swing through multiple towns on a regular basis.
Yet, I know there are better options. However, sometimes you have to start at zero. Be happy there’s at least some place to go where you can grab a hot or cold beverage, a piece of cake and sit with a book vibing to soft jazz music. A place where we can just go talk to our neighbors without being chased out after three hours.
A town square, despite it’s shape and form.
Hate Starbucks? Want to tell me more about your favorite local coffee shop(I love those too!) Or just want to join in on the ongoing conversation? Follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. Or join me in person at one of these upcoming events.