Napa "Cash Mob" Forms on Facebook as Starbucks Prepares to Open Downtown

One member of Napa Local, acting on her own, has created a Facebook page urging Napans to patronize Napa Valley Coffee Roasting Company on the opening day of downtown's first Starbucks across the street.

Updated: Sept. 29 from 8 to 9 a.m. is the appointed hour for the cash mob, according to Karen Garcia:


A well-publicized effort earlier this year to block Starbucks from opening an outlet in downtown Napa ended in defeat for Napa Local, the group formed in opposition to the coffee giant's plan to set up shop kitty-corner from long-established Napa Valley Coffee Roasting Company.

Now one member of Napa Local, Karen Garcia, has taken a new tack on behalf of the locally-owned coffee shop, starting a Facebook page called "Cash Mob for Napa Valley Coffee Roasting Company, downtown Napa."

"We don't yet know when Starbucks will be opening their store on First Street. The minute we do know, we'll post it here and hope that lots of you will show up at 8:00 AM to make a purchase at our beloved Napa Valley Coffee Roasting Company!" Garcia writes on the Facebook page, which she set up first thing Monday morning.

"I just woke up at 4:30 this morning thinking, 'cash mob,'" said Garcia, who said she'd seen a sign at the Starbucks location over the weekend indicating a Sept. 27 grand opening date.

But, Garcia continued, when she went downtown after sunrise Monday to take a picture of Napa Valley Coffee Roasting Company for the Facebook page, "that notice was gone from the window" at Starbucks.

"The minute I know when they're opening, I'm going to post it" on the Facebook page, Garcia said.

The cash mob concept, in which customers are encouraged to flood a designated business with orders, is a way locals who opposed the downtown Starbucks can "do something positive," Garcia said.

"Starbucks may be opening across the street, but we still love our local businesses," she said.

Garcia emphasized that she is acting on her own and not on behalf of Napa Local.

But, speaking as a member of the group, she said that while Napa Local is "not sure what our next steps are going to be," members are pleased that their concerns about supporting local businesses have been heard and discussed by city government.

"We're really happy the conversation is now happening," she said.

Do you want to know when Starbucks is opening downtown? Click the "Keep me posted" button below for automatic updates on this story.

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Patty Peterson September 24, 2012 at 05:05 PM
For me it is about choices. If I find my favorite coffee shop, nursery, clothing store, etc. slipping in service and quality, then I look around to see what else is out there. The independents tend to evolve and grow because the owners have more control over their product and habits. Their job is to answer to the customer not corporate headquarters. I see that the NVRC has stepped up their game, and about time. But they are not the only game in town, by far.
Vanissa September 24, 2012 at 05:13 PM
10:10 am on Monday, September 24, 2012 I used to feel sorry for the Napa Valley Roasting Company, because I love supporting local business. However you would think they would try a little more to fight back to Star Bucks moving across the street from their business. Napa Roasting Company need to higher their customer service standards. You will be standing at the counter and you will not get acknowledge right away, there should be more sizes of cups to select from, up their coffee selection, lower prices from Star Bucks, and change their hours to compete with Star Buck hour's. I have not seen any of these things change, correct me if I am wrong.
Karen Garcia September 24, 2012 at 05:16 PM
Consistency can be a mixed blessing. When consistency=boredom, I look for something a little new and different! You're right about quality being affected by cutting corners, and often in huge corporations, cost-saving mechanisms are take-aways from employees and workers while the CEOs and stockholders continue to profit.
Ash Leigh September 24, 2012 at 05:20 PM
I did a walk through downtown last week. I was surprised by all the empty stores. It wasn't this bad when I moved here, almost two years ago. The TownCenter is about 85% empty. I heard, they are planning on remodeling most of the "stores" within the year.
Ash Leigh September 24, 2012 at 05:22 PM
Vanissa, NVRC has changed their hours. They are open longer than they used to be.
swag September 24, 2012 at 05:37 PM
The town tries an Indian restaurant and despite its quality, it's a failure. Let's face it: Napa locals don't support local businesses, so they have to rely on tourists to pick up the slack.
Cheryl Hempel September 24, 2012 at 05:41 PM
There is room for everyone here, folks. Starbucks patrons will continue to be patrons, and NVRC patrons will remain loyal patrons to Napa Valley Roasting Company. Ever visit Seattle where there's a coffee shop on every corner (and 2 S'Bux on corners facing each other?). They all are doing well. People have their favorites and coffee is big business.
Larry Cereghino September 24, 2012 at 07:17 PM
Everyone enjoys a cup of coffee..its more of a social thing..have a cup and see who comes in..Heck even the coffee at the gas station is good,for only $1.49..service is quick,golden bagel is great..ok so lets talk about how many hamburger places we have in Napa...Its the world of competion folks..I'd like to see a best buy ,a chevys or a olive garden in Napa..I need to go to Vallejo to enjoy the stores or fairfield... Napa is not a small town any more...Look at the south napa area. More is coming..I just hope it something I enjoy shopping at.with the price of gas...We love to shop Napa..But thier are times we travel outside of Napa...
Kathy Lenning September 25, 2012 at 12:52 AM
Kathy L. I recently went out for my morning walk in downtown Napa looking for a cup of coffee and nothing was opened at 6:ooam. Went back to my car and drove to Starbucks at Nob Hill knowing it would be opened and I'd be greeted with a smile.
Neven September 25, 2012 at 01:47 AM
Cash Mob or not, the free market will decide the fate of Napa Valley Roasting Co. and Starbucks in downtown Napa. Let the games begin!
Alex Shantz September 25, 2012 at 04:16 AM
I support the cash mob idea. I also think it is time for a boycott of all Starbucks. I am sick of corporate chains coming in, draining profit from our community, and like parasites remove it to their corporate hosts. That's not the free market....that's exploitation plain and simple.
Ed Rapp September 25, 2012 at 08:52 AM
Starbucks is planning to open this Friday Sept 28 or Saturday Sept 29 according to the Superintendent of the construction crew working in the store..On glitch to Starbucks and other shoppers on Saturday Sept 29 the parking lot on Main Street at Kohl's behind the Starbucks building will be closed to the public all day for a special event. Napa Valley Opera House has leased from the city that parking lot to be used for their annual Gala that night for Valet Parking. Even thought the Opera House's Gala doesn't begin until 5 pm, the lot will be barricaded off and security guard posted all day to keep vehicles out of the lot. The company that handles valet parking for Cole's Chop House will be handling the valet parking for the Opera House Event..
Mike Treleven September 25, 2012 at 02:51 PM
OK, downtown Napa has some flaws. But the issue in front of us -- make a corporate giant from ruining the feel in our beautiful city. Shop and play local.
Karen Garcia September 25, 2012 at 02:54 PM
Thanks, Ed. That's valuable information.
Karen Garcia September 25, 2012 at 03:07 PM
Agreed, Mike! I understand that people yearn for the old days when you could go to Merrill's for prescriptions, Woolworth for toothpaste and to Brewster's for hiking boots, but those venues have long since been replaced by the CV Pharmacies, Targets and Big 5s that have sprung up in our outlying strip malls. But I doubt if most of us take our out of town guests for dinner at Jack in the Box and a visit to Wal-Mart. It's more likely that we'll take them to our revitalized and lovely downtown for a fabulous meal at a unique restaurant and to poke around in our unique gifts shops and clothing stores. Cheryl is right that there is room for everyone, but I do feel that we (and our City officials) need to do what we can to protect our local businesses from direct, unfair competition from the Big Boys who siphon our dollars out of our town and send it directly to their corporate HQ.
Karen Garcia September 25, 2012 at 03:33 PM
Saturday Sept. 29 between 8:00-9:00: Cash Mob at Napa Valley Coffee Roasting Company, 948 Main St. in downtown Napa. Come and join us!
Mimi Glavin September 25, 2012 at 03:39 PM
I'd just like to affirm that our local businesses truly appreciate it when locals shop in our stores. For those who want to make a difference in our community, here are 5 reasons to shop local: http://www.localshops1.com/?page=topfive
Hyde (Dirty Napkin) September 25, 2012 at 04:40 PM
Viva Starbucks!
Karen Lucia September 25, 2012 at 05:12 PM
Hi Folks, Karen Lucia here, of Shop Local NAPA & Grapeleaf Graphics Company with my two cents worth. Seriously? give it a break....Napa Valley Coffee Roasting has been in Napa for the past 25 years with locations in Napa and also Saint Helena. They are a well established local Napa coffee shop located in a historical building and have well supported patronage for their quaint atmosphere and friendly staff. Do you really think this is necessary? Anchor Tennants, such as Starbucks, Whole Foods is what drives in revenue to our local economy, and those folks, who happen to google the closest Starbuck when they are lost in all the one way streets downtown, will get out of their cars, hit Starbucks,and will probably take a nice walk around our beauiful town - and finally, discover Napa, and all it's glory. It's time to be more productive and just start to support all of the local Napa shops, go into the stores, see what our local Napa retailers have to offer our local Napa residents...and just "SHOP LOCAL NAPA" period! enough is enough- and for the record, I do not support this movement- and welcome Starbucks to the neighborhood because you will help store owners like myself bring in new customers to my shop, Grapeleaf Graphics which is a local Napa small business in town. For more information about my orginization that I am working on, "SHOP LOCAL NAPA" please email me at shoplocalnapa@gmail.com.
Louisa Hufstader (Editor) September 25, 2012 at 05:30 PM
Here's more about Karen Lucia and Shop Local Napa: http://napa.patch.com/articles/shop-local-napa-campaign-announced
Karen Lucia September 25, 2012 at 05:39 PM
Thanks Louisa! Love getting "patched in" every morning" even when I can't drive through caffino's any longer :(
Karen Garcia September 25, 2012 at 05:44 PM
Karen, I know there are many here in Napa who share your opinion about Starbucks, but frankly, I'm a little surprised by the virulence of your opposition to the Cash Mob concept. This action is not directed against Starbucks necessarily; it's a way for people to show support for locally-owned businesses like yours. I would like to see Cash Mobs occur around Napa on a regular basis, as they do in many communities. I wonder how you'd feel if a Kinko's opened across the street from you? I imagine you'd appreciate a show of support for your business if that were to happen. This is meant to be a positive, pro-active action, not a negative one.
Karen Lucia September 25, 2012 at 07:36 PM
We have Copy Corner right across the street and Randy is a great friend and also a native Napan like myself- They do everything that Kinkos does, and we do somethings here that they don't so its a wonderful relationship between us referring business back and forth. We are not in competition with our peers, but we help support one another and try to build business and promote each other. I'm not opposed to Cash Mobs, but recently, there was a local merchant in another local community that was overtaken by a cash mob that formed at their business and robbed them blind with the mass of people that showed up. What I am not in support of is the movement to keep larger retailers out of downtown Napa or anywhere for that matter because the City needs the revenues that these larger chains can bring in. A healthy mix is what any town needs, large retailers and small, it's the way things work economically, and the beauty of a large company moving in is the stability of an income stream for the investors and property owners. It's a win win situation and i don't understand why it's such a big deal for Napa Valley Coffee Roasting Company- Like any other business out there, if you treat your customers like your friends and family, people will come back. I love NVCRC, because it's not the typical coffee shop, and bringing more folks downtown is not a bad thing, it will probably generate more business for them as well.
Robert Lee September 26, 2012 at 04:31 AM
Don't get me wrong on this whole deal. I don't want to see more or ANY big corporate businesses downtown. Did the City fathers have their head up deep to let another coffee house which already has TWO locations move in? Why is everything closing downtown? I don't know, but something better change whether it's rent prices or what is going in. Hmmm it reminds me of the Haight Ashbury district after the so called Summer of Love died down. You drove through it to point at the sign and then went to a nicer district to shop and eat.
Louisa Hufstader (Editor) September 26, 2012 at 06:20 PM
Ewww, I just found a spammer on the thread! Buh-bye, "John Smith." Apologies to the real people.
Louisa Hufstader (Editor) September 26, 2012 at 06:21 PM
You're too kind, Karen. So what is your new coffee routine? Have you found a replacement? I wish I could figure out a way this site could dispense coffee ... I'm slurping up some Weaver's at Molinari right now.
Jan B September 27, 2012 at 05:34 AM
I welcome Starbucks and I am pleased to have a choice. I mainly shop out of town because there are so few places to shop here. I doubt Napa will have a Macy's or Old Navy anytime soon.
Alex Shantz September 27, 2012 at 08:11 AM
Because you didn't have a choice with 8 other Starbucks in Napa? How much of a choice will you have when Starbucks runs their competitors out of town? Proponents of corporate chains and free market economics are the real ones that are anti-choice. They support a system that allows giant corporations to destroy their competition and encourages monopolies.
Alex Shantz September 27, 2012 at 08:20 AM
You are incorrect when you claim the "City needs the revenues that these larger chains can bring in." Local businesses actually retain more revenue for local governments as cited in a studied published by Sonoma State. "For every $100 of local products bought and sold by Oliver’s, there’s an additional $63 of spending in Sonoma County for a total impact of $163. If Oliver's didn’t source locally, $27.5 million in its overall impact would flow out to another area. Oliver's buying behavior retains these gains for Sonoma County annually." http://www.northbaybiz.com/Monthly_Features/bizTips/The_Economics_of_Going_Local.php
Alex Shantz September 27, 2012 at 08:25 AM
And, once again......none of the proponents of corporate chains have even tried to dispute the multiplier effect. They haven't disputed the benefits of local businesses verses corporate chains. They don't dispute any of the facts. Instead, they make vague references to "anchor stores" and "mixed businesses". My question is, since the multiplier effect is a proven economic fact, why do they oppose policies which would maximize the multiplier effect?


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