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Starbucks and delocator.net

By October 12, 2006The Coffee Blog

I just searched yahoo.com (local: Indiana, PA) for the word “coffee.”

The Commonplace Coffeehouse & Roastery was the first hit!!

I then searched www.delocator.net for “15701” (our zip code).

The Commonplace Coffeehouse & Roastery is the only coffeehouse shown!!??

For those of you that don’t know — this is all about to change. Starbucks is moving into the area and I bet within a couple of days if you search Yahoo.com’s local section — we will be number 2. Soon, when you search www.delocator.net you will not see that we are the only coffeehouse in town.

I can’t say that I am not scared. I can’t say that I am not a little upset. I read Howard Schultz’s book two years ago and he said that he would never intentionally open a Starbucks to leach off of another coffeehouse’s success. And yet time and time again we read of towns whose independent coffeehouses are stretched to stay open (or shut-down soon after) a Starbucks is opened near them.

I want to say that I am not scared of the real competition. I think our product is far superior, far fresher, and our community of people is far from sterile (as the atmosphere often is at Starbucks). In fact, I am kind of excited about the areas in which The Commonplace can grow and do better because of the competition. I guess what I fear is what I cannot compete with: their branding, their corporate backing, their marketing, their sign, their drive-thru, their new play-ground…

For those of you who haven’t heard of www.delocator.net – take a second and go there and spend some time there. It is a great sight that educates its readers where independent coffeehouses (now with bookstores and movie theatres too!!) are and where Starbucks and other corporate stores are. The point is to delocate Starbucks and locate the independent stores.

Think about this quote from the www.delocator.net website:

In An Analysis of the Potential Economic Impact of Austin Unchained (Nov. 15, 2003), Civic Economics reports: “For every $100 in consumer spending at Borders, the total local economic impact is only $13. The same amount spent with BookPeople (an independently owned bookstore) and Waterloo (an independently owned music store) yields more than three times the local economic impact.”

Julie and I moved here to this quaint Pennsylvanian town to enjoy “small town” life. We had lived in Charlotte, NC where there was more concrete than trees. We were excited to live in a place that didn’t have an Old Navy, Home Depot, Lowe’s, World Market, Target, Wal-mart, Q-doba, Dean and Deluca, Caribou Coffee, Starbucks, Barnes and Noble, and Borders every 2 miles (seriously every 2 freakin’ miles!!!!!). I have heard several customers wanting these “big box” stores to come to Indiana, PA and surrounding areas – BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR!!! Living in Charlotte, NC made me appreciate cities that think beyond the immediate gratification of giving everyone a building permit without thinking of the future of their landscape. Julie and I lived in a city where a Super Wal-Mart was being built across the street from the existing Wal-Mart. That happened 5 years ago – the new Super Wal-mart is still open and the old Wal-mart across the street is still empty and rotting.