Downtown Starbucks Debate: What's Your View?

Is it a "heartless slap in the face" for the megachain to take a prominent corner location opposite a small local café in downtown Napa? Or do you think "Starbucks lifts everybody's game?" Join the discussion!


The debate continues over a Starbucks coffee shop that has applied to the city for permission to make design changes to a prominent downtown corner storefront. Here's last week:

: How can you have a downtown without a which is so much more than a chain coffee retailer. They are a lounge with plenty of comfy furniture, wi-fi, and without the din of a place like . So think of it has a mini community center. The is cramped, the space unappealing. But now people have a choice, which is always good. And Starbucks lifts everyone's game. ...

: ... Bounty Hunter isn't a coffee shop. Not a good comparison. Just a block and a half away exists a very nice place that just opened it's doors and it is exactly as you described Starbucks (comfy and wifi etc.) and it was even featured here on Napa Patch. My wife is an avid coffee drinker and likes Starbucks but she would tell you that Weavers Coffee, which features, is light years ahead of what Starbucks offers.

: ... Starbucks doesn't belong in the heart of downtown, directly across from a coffee shop that has been in business since 1985. Money spent at a local business is spent locally and is need for a healthy economic ecosytem. Money spent at Starbucks, leaves the community immediately. Sure Starbucks gives... to Africa and others in need. Bottom line is this location is wrong! It will shut down NVCRC. Example: Petaluma, CA., 1994-2006, Deaf Dog Coffee...Starbucks caused this cafe to fold when they moved directly across the street. ...

: I would like to see a Starbucks go in at Third St where the former Hedgerow flower shop was it's a great location for tourists and locals alike.

 There are ... 8 Starbucks in Napa! Let's keep the money local!

: Being a just give me a cup-of-coffee lover, I haven't gone to Starbucks in a long time. Their coffee is super bitter... and I have had it taste the same across the US. When Consumer Reports came out with a blind tasting a few years ago they had Starbucks on the bottom of the list and McDonald's and Dunkin' Donuts of all places on top... I felt vindicated. Now they do make a mean Mocha.... but I have long since given the high calorie, fat, cost coffees out of my diet.... So I will continue to support the Napa Valley Roasting Company just out of pure taste preference.... Now if Peet's moved in that space all bets are off...

: I love coffee, really love it. Starbucks is "ok," I frequent it time to time, more so because of time and convenience. 

Keep Starbucks out of Downtown Napa. And Napa Roasting Co, you better get w/it. Last time I was there...Meh.

: According to the manager at CRC in St Helena, Starbucks and CRC use the same beans. They roast them differently.

Just reading this it is clear that people have different subjective experiences of coffee, different interests. I think Starbucks is ok but mediocre. Everything I get there is loaded with sugar.

My problem is that over the long term if we keep filling downtown with chains like this it will fail. What works in the short term may not in the long term. Why would anyone visit Napa or drive downtown if you live here to go to Starbucks?

On the other hand, people do go to for their unique shops. We need unique, local shops to make it interesting. We can stand a few chains, but they don't add much.

These are just some of the 19 comments on our article , where Tom Merle, R. Garrett and Scott Yeager continued their discussion in several other posts.

Over on Facebook, the article drew a half-dozen comments, none complimentary to the coffee giant:

Kelly Adams really? another one? I don't think we need to add more to the already too many we have

Katie Chauncy NO! They are everywhere. I do frequent some of them but I think downtown is better reserved for places like , NV coffee and even . The "real" stuff!

Jennifer Cody No more! Napa has enough of them.

Michael Andrew Carolan Ya can't stop them they are going to come any ways. With the I expect more chain Rest. and Stores to come in. It's better than empty store fronts...

Amy Shier-Heathcote Not across from Napa Valley Coffee Roasting Company, it's a heartless slap in the face. We need to support our small businesses especially those who give back to our community.

Paris Petrick I agree with Amy! I find this in poor taste, I can't imagine that the city would even consider delivering such a hard blow to the Napa Valley Roasting Company! Perhaps I could get on board if they were in the plaza where a draw is needed and where there is no real threat to established local businesses.

What do you think? If you haven't weighed in yet, please let us know in the comments; we also have a purely non-scientific poll.

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Scott Yeager May 18, 2012 at 03:35 PM
Could Moylan's be one of the other businesses interested in the space besides Starbucks? Could be! I have no problem with competition. Rabid dogmatism and narrow vision is completely different.
tom merle May 18, 2012 at 05:00 PM
Glad that finally someone gets the distinction between an untethered generalization and a specific manifestation or context where all sorts of actual restrictions and rights apply.
Matt Grantham May 19, 2012 at 01:54 AM
Yes only some of us get untethered generalizations versus specific manifestations. I was just wondering though when you say specific manifestations do you mean in the subjective Cartesian sense or more in the world of the undeniable forms of logic presented by Frege. No matter, the fact you refer to the specific manifestaions or 'context' of so and so, kind of ruins it for me. Context is a non starter for conservos. Interpretive apparati allow the sheep their place in the field. Structural functionalism and its binary twin of free market ideology, present a functional holism that transcends objective analysis. I thought you had made that clear
Louisa Hufstader May 30, 2012 at 04:57 PM
Matt, is this the thread you were looking for this morning?
tom merle June 05, 2012 at 01:36 AM
News Flash: Starbucks buys SF's La Boulange. Maybe this bakery/café will be coming to the corner. But this won't satisfy the localists of course.


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