"Occupy Napa" Takes On Starbucks

Updated 7 a.m.: The local protest group is calling for opposition to Starbucks' rumored interest in opening a coffee shop at the corner of First and Main streets in downtown Napa.

A recent report in the about the sale of a prominent downtown business building appears to have sparked a new protest movement against , mentioned in the article as a potential new tenant at the corner of First and Main streets.

The proximity of the proposed Starbucks to the longtime local hangout is the focus of this week's general assembly of the group, according to an event posting on Facebook.

As of 7 a.m. Monday, 47 people had indicated they would attend the meeting at on West Street Tuesday evening.

Among the comments on the Facebook page:

This is a nasty move, obviously trying to force out a local business. One that does a GREAT job by the way - and not only that - they support local music! Step up, Napa! Are we going to let a big box crush a local family? (Kellie Fuller)

How many unremarkable overpriced chain coffee stores does Napa need? (Poppy Jones)

You don't need to bash one thing in order to stand up for another thing. Support the Roasting Company if you want to. Starbucks doesn't steal business. You give it to them. It's not like their drinks are cheaper. (Skyler Barto)

Hard to imagine a more trivial issue to occupy the collective mind of Occupy Napa. (Genji Schmeder)

Organizers of Tuesday's meeting posted on the event's Facebook wall:

This is a blatantly aggressive maneuver by Starbucks to challenge a local cafe. Starbucks is a multinational corporation that ...values their profit over the desires of the people.

If we, as the people of Napa, do not want Starbucks to open up a store directly by the Napa Valley Roasting Company, we need to come together, brainstorm strategy and tactics, and act now.

Occupy Napa has been having its general assemblies every Tuesday at 7:30 in the . Occupy Wall Street and Occupy Napa is a movement that emerged to challenge and resist the corporate greed and domination over our lives.

We will be hosting an organizing meeting this Tuesday to start brain storming ways we can resist Starbuck's effort to open up a store in Downtown Napa.

It is our intention to initiative the discussion. If those wanting to help organize against Starbucks want to form a separate group or task force, that can happen.

We welcome anyone and everyone who wants to come together to help plan effective actions to ensure Starbucks does not open up a store in our Downtown.

There are currently five freestanding Starbucks shops in the city, with additional Starbucks counters operating inside and stores.

Louisa Hufstader December 23, 2011 at 06:04 PM
Letter to the editor in today's Register: http://napavalleyregister.com/news/opinion/mailbag/starbucks-isn-t-the-right-fit-for-downtown-napa/article_479b7380-2d23-11e1-8304-0019bb2963f4.html
Lisa Batto December 24, 2011 at 03:53 PM
I'm not certain that we can keep a formulary business out of downtown. We have several there already. Avia hotel, Norman Rose, Annete's, Napa Valley Roasting Company, Cole's chop house, Subway, Ace Hardware etc. each of these businesses are technically formula because they are corporation owned and/or more than one exists. I object to changing the architecture and character of our downtown, such as what Starbucks would want to build and what has already been allowed to Talbotts. If Starbucks is allowed I don't want their brand-looking building on the corner of Main and First. In Business competition stinks, but it is a reality that business owners face and should always be prepared to meet head on.
Louisa Hufstader December 26, 2011 at 01:39 PM
Hi Lisa, it is always so good to have you join the conversation. Thank you. I think there's precedent for municipalities to restrain the branding when a chain comes in: McDonalds don't always have golden arches, and so on. The Subway on First Street, not far from the location we're discussing, is almost invisible. A subtle Starbucks is quite possible for downtown Napa. By the way, I suppose you can add Napa Patch to the list of formula businesses. When we went live 13 months ago we were the 400th Patch in the nation. There are now more than twice as many, each as different as the community it serves.
Louisa Hufstader January 03, 2012 at 10:13 PM
The opponents of a downtown Starbucks are now circulating a petition and have formulated a statement with a series of demands: http://patch.com/A-pQTF
Mimi Glavin January 17, 2012 at 07:08 PM
As a "native" of San Luis Obispo, I remember when downtown SLO desperately needed to be revitalized. I recently found this 2008 article on Downtown Survival to be interesting: http://www.slocounty.ca.gov/Assets/PL/Housing/Downtown+Revitalization/Downtown+Revitalization+Strategies.pdf. The author suggests that a revived center will need 1) a sense of place, of history and of meaning and 2) keeping the downtown business district authentic with local merchants who sell unique products and services AS WELL AS "ubiquitous chains" found in typical communities. Perhaps...just perhaps...we need (and already have, as Lisa suggests) both. Many local residents express a longing for some of the classic chain stores. On the other hand, would I want one of my "chain store" competitors setting up camp right next door to my businesses? I'm not opposed to competition, but I can't say that I would be a happy camper in that scenario.


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