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Petition Opposes Downtown Starbucks

A group of Napa residents is circulating a petition against the proposed location of a Starbucks Coffee at First and Main streets. This article was written by one of the organizers of the group known as Napa Local.

Napa Local, a new grassroots group dedicated to preserving and enhancing the unique qualities of downtown—with a big focus on locally owned independent businesses—has created a petition that calls for “No Starbucks on First and Main in Downtown Napa."

The group formed following a report in the , in an article titled “Main and First building gets new owner; Starbucks considers space”. According to the article, Starbucks Corporation has shown interest in the current location, a business that sits directly across the street from the .

Napa Local has not only begun an organizing effort to prevent Starbucks from moving next door to our town's local coffee shop, it has also begun a wider effort to promote a culturally unique downtown.

Napa Local seeks to preserve locally owned businesses and prevent "formula businesses" such as Starbucks from setting up shop without local scrutiny. The group has created four demands that hope to create conscious business and development practices:

A) We do not want Starbucks to open on the corner of First and Main Streets.

B) We do not want a Starbucks to open anywhere in downtown Napa.

C) Have the City of Napa adopt an ordinance to regulate formula businesses to conform to the existing Downtown Napa Specific Plan.

D) Have the City of Napa implement a moratorium on any new formula businesses until such an ordinance is adopted.

The demands and tactics are nothing new. They are part of an increasing trend by cities and towns across the nation that want to preserve their historical and distinctive identities.

The New Rules Project, a program of the Institute for Self-Reliance, provides research, updated news, Legal Reviews and lists a number of towns and cities in California that “have adopted ordinances that prohibit formula businesses, cap their total number, or require that they meet certain conditions to open.”

One of those places is the City of Calistoga, which in 1996 unanimously adopted and approved Ordinance NO. 519, whose capitalized header reads, “DEFINING AND REGULATING FORMULA BUSINESSES INCLUDING FOOD ESTABLISHHMENTS, AND ADOPTING DEVELOPMENT STANDARDS APPROPRIATE TO MAINTAIN THE HISTORIC, RURAL CHARACTER WITHIN CALISTOGA.”

The Napa Local group is working on a website and currently has a Facebook Group Page.

For more information on past and present cases involving formula businesses, you can visit the New Rules Project Formula Businesses Page here.

d mcgrath January 03, 2012 at 10:17 PM
I totally understand the 'desire' to keep the historical perspective (what exactly does that mean?) of Napa, but I moved to Napa 11 years ago and I am still waiting to see the 'revitalization' of Downtown. The 'desire' does not seem to have an impetus for an affect? Starbucks and other well received 'big box' stores is better then nicely decorated empty store fronts! ...just an 'outsiders' idea
Xulio Soriano January 04, 2012 at 01:27 AM
I say change the noise ordinances and other unnecessary ordinances, but be conscious about which formula businesses to let in. If you click on the given link, you can get some points that argue in favor of local business and regulation of formula businesses. Having said that, I do think Downtown Napa has been pretty dead in the past years. it's getting better. I take it you are not familiar with the Art on First Project, and the Downtown Art Walk, for example. The are some of the changes that have been occurring to bring the Downtown to life. It still needs more improvement though. But the reason for Napa Local voicing concerns is because of the effects of formula businesses on town and cities. We at least need local scrutiny. As of now, they can simply open virtually anywhere they see fit, even right across another local business that provides the same service. Chains have a predatory business practice, but more can be found out here: http://www.newrules.org/retail/rules/formula-business-restrictions
Alex Weeks January 04, 2012 at 01:48 AM
May storefronts downtown are not empty due to lack of interest in them, but there not being up to code and therefore unusable. The thing that makes any city unique are the stores, resteraunts, and various other establishments that you can find nowhere else. I grew up in Napa, but lived in NY for 7 years, 3 of those working in NYC. As I walked through New York City's "historic shopping centers" I was saddened that NYC had changed. Don't get me wrong, NYC has some of the most amazing shops, but I could no longer find them on 42nd St or Times Square. Those places were filled with the same stores located at any mall in America. When we walk down 1st ST in Napa, what do we want to see? The Gap, Lane Bryant, The Disney Store, and Applebees? That would kill the experience that has been growing in Napa. Instead, I would like to see more small businesses like Bistro Sabor, Inti, and Baker St Tobacconist. These are the kind of places that make Napa special.
jay January 04, 2012 at 08:32 PM
Starbucks no since there is another coffee house there, but I would allow most other chain stores and make it an attractive downtown that people will visit like Burlingame or Palo Alto.

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