Opinion: Napa Doesn’t Need Another Starbucks

I love the stuff, but does Napa need another Starbucks? No.


I can’t live without it. But I usually just brew it at home.

I do have to admit however, that whenever I need some strong coffee, I go to Starbucks to get my caffeine high.

And now it seems that it will be easier than ever to find a cup of cafécito (as we say in Spanish) with the addition of a new Starbuck’s in town right at the heart of it – First and Main Streets.

Bad idea and this is why.

Downtown Napa is a worldwide tourist attraction, a place where people can visit shops, eat at gourmet restaurants and experience something that they can’t back home. It’s a place that’s defined by mom-and-pop shops, high-end restaurants, wine boutiques, and specialty shops not seen anywhere else in the country.

Do we really want to see a business that can be experienced at any strip mall in the country in an exclusive location such as downtown Napa?

Don’t get me wrong, I love Starbucks. Don’t have anything against them. Don’t really care if they are corporate juggernauts that pretty much define suburban sprawl – the same Starbucks you see in Napa is the same one you see in Petaluma, Sonoma, Healdsburg, Rohnert Park and don’t get me started on American Canyon.

I also have a concern that by having a Starbucks in Napa, other coffee companies centered in downtown will have a hard time competing with the popular brand. I used to take walks from the building with colleagues to grab some coffee over at on First and Main Street.

Now as I return to Napa and work alongside editor Louisa Hufstader, the thought of not having a local coffee shop to enjoy because of the potential drop in business that may be sustained when Starbucks opens up is troubling.

Napa already has six Starbucks in town. It doesn’t need another.

What are your thoughts?  

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Kristy Page July 10, 2012 at 01:24 PM
That's the problem with people, any little thing said about another race you call out racist! I didn't call anyone names or anything just simply english is the main language here, americas founding ancestors had to learn english if people don't like that today they can move to somewhere that speaks the language they do. Fine let's just be fair than, there's chinese people who live here too lets start putting chinese translations on all our signs and make it apart of every day language, lets just speak every single language there is here.
Unfiltered Steve Simoneau July 10, 2012 at 07:48 PM
That's the best you got, Cole, to Google the original Pledge and call me ignorant? Carlos is an excellent writer, including a perspective from a beautiful and colorful Latino culture. I was being snarky and sarcastic about his "we", because that's what I do to engage a writer whom I enjoy. Otherwise, I would have ignored it. I could care less what you think about me because it's none of my business. So save it for someone who gives a crap. I have no fear or dislike of any specific race or culture, I determine my like or dislike of someone by behavior alone, regardless of origin or heritage. Trust me when I tell you that I've lived in environments where being xenophobic or ethnocentric will get you beaten or killed, I understand their definitions and contexts thoroughly. You, on the other hand, obviously attack anyone who threatens your perception of society. I hope that serves you well, as it is your prerogative.
Catherine George July 10, 2012 at 11:05 PM
Tom - as a matter of fact, the Sonoma organization that you've posted the link to is exactly what we have been talking about, so it sounds like we are actually of like minds on this. Thanks for the link. We're building our own version of that right here in Napa. We've actually been active and will continue to be. So, if you would like to, you can keep issuing your own lamentations and such, while we get things done! Or, you can join us, and do stuff! That's always an option.
Catherine George July 10, 2012 at 11:23 PM
Our country was founded by immigrants. Everyone here is an immigrant. The only exceptions are Native Americans. Our country is really unique in this way, and we have the unique privilege and opportunity to embrace and learn from so many different people who have come here from elsewhere. Respect others, their culture, their language, their art, way of being, etc. This is so basic, I honestly don't understand why you don't seem to understand it. If you have a problem with our country of immigrants, you are free to move to a place that is homogenous. I wound normally never say such a thing to anyone, but I am doing so here because I'm at a loss as to how to get you to understand just how obnoxious and ignorant that statement is. Perhaps you might like to read this; it is a wonderful thought exercise that is usually given in Anthropology 101: https://www.msu.edu/~jdowell/miner.html?pagewanted=al
Matt Grantham July 13, 2012 at 02:52 AM
Tom - Im really not understanding. Do you approve of what Sonoma has done? Or is it that you simply want to use them as an example to criticize us in some manner? We have heard before that we cannot have support local policies because that only happens in small towns like Fairfax and Sonoma and now we here from you that instead we are not big enough. As to Carmel, I do no know the facts, but here is my two cents. Most people want to be good at what they do and do not need the right wing favorite of fear as a motivation to make a good product. competition, from my perspective, is more a process of learning from others and expanding your insights on how such new ideas effect your business. Regardless, competition, if you like, does not require formula business. There is no reason why a well informed local public would not notice if their coffee establishment was substandard and that someone in that town would move to open a competing establishment. However maybe everyone in Carmel was simply to rich to take the time to accomplish such a task. Learning or even paying to learn new business approaches from those outside of Napa does not require that we let them move in


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