This is not a new story, but it came to mind after I read neighbor JJ Pair’s post on White Rock Coffee‘s third anniversary specials. No doubt that WRC is a fun spot — I frequent it not just for the drinks and the pastries (and those incredible chicken salad sandwiches!), but also for the free wifi and the generally stimulating atmosphere (no pun intended).
But I have to wonder: Would I visit WRC so often to grab a White Rocker if Starbucks didn’t exist?
That’s why I love this slate.com story about mom and pop coffee shop owners who discovered that Starbucks moving in next door was the best thing that could ever happen to them. Not that the piece paints the national coffee retailer in a completely positive light, but for example, here’s the story of one owner who wondered what would happen to his shop of three decades:
"He decided to call his friend Jim Stewart, founder of the Seattle’s Best Coffee chain, to find out what really happens when a Starbucks opens nearby. ‘You’re going to love it,’ Stewart reported. ‘They’ll do all of your marketing for you, and your sales will soar.’ The prediction came true: Each new Starbucks store created a local buzz, drawing new converts to the latte-drinking fold. When the lines at Starbucks grew beyond the point of reason, these converts started venturing out — and, Look! There was another coffeehouse right next-door! Hyman’s new neighbor boosted his sales so much that he decided to turn the tactic around and start targeting Starbucks. ‘We bought a Chinese restaurant right next to one of their stores and converted it, and by God, it was doing $1 million a year right away,’ he said."