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Downtown Starbucks Opposition Grows

Some downtown merchants are lending their voices to a growing movement to ask city leaders for limits on formula businesses. We'll hear more at tonight's city council meeting.

The public comment period at could take a little longer than usual: A determined group of local activists has enlisted a number of downtown merchants in an effort to persuade city officials to set limits on what chain-owned, "formula" businesses can set up shop downtown.

An article in the quotes the owners of downtown businesses and  as supporting the Napa Local group in opposition to corporate chain retailers downtown.

Napa Local was formed in December, 2011, following reports that a Starbucks coffee shop might come to the First and Main street storefront now occupied by , which is relocating.

Writes Napa Local member Julio Soriano, who used Napa Patch to at tonight's meeting:

City Council needs to hear that our community is concerned for the future of our downtown. Will we allow corporate chains to practice predatory business by moving in front of other long-time local businesses? What are major economic benefits of local business?

What will our downtown look like in 10 or 20 years? Will it be a strip mall or a unique downtown for Napa Valley? 

We would like City Council to officially discuss this by adding it as an item to their agenda.

We come to city council to share our concerns about the dangers of unchecked formula business proliferation.We want to revitalize Downtown, culturally and economically, for ourselves and for our visitors.

"The large corporate chains, will come in; but we, as a community, should not allow that trend to happen unchecked and uncontrolled. The future of downtown Napa should not merely be sold to the highest bidder without consideration of the impact."

Please be present to show support and if you would like, come up to the mic during public comment and share your concerns.

Tonight's council meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. For the complete agenda with links to supporting documents, please see .

Rick March 06, 2012 at 10:43 PM
That formula store named Ben & Jerry's sure ruined the downtown didn't it. And now that other formula store known as Talbot's has been run out of downtown doesn't that empty store look great. We sure don't have enough vacant property in downtown Napa do we?
Juan Valdez Murphy March 07, 2012 at 03:48 AM
Rick is correct. Napa has turned into one of the last refuges of NIMBY troglodytes. Starbucks stores bring customers into the areas in which they operate. Local coffee shops need to adapt to the changing business environment. Having had a virtual monopoly on the coffee business in Napa for a great length of time doesn't entitle those businesses to expect that progress will never occur and they won't have to change in order to compete with Starbucks and survive. These same complaints were made by buggywhip and harness makers with the advent of the automobile. Deal with it or get out of the coffee business.
Giselle Lampe March 07, 2012 at 03:54 PM
We need anchor stores downtown I support the NVRH and I am sure to continue but I won't discourage business from opening up, if they say no to Starbucks they'd have to say no to all chain operations such as; Williams & Sonoma, Sephora, Jos Banks etc.
David Tompkins March 07, 2012 at 08:32 PM
Ostrich vision at its best! I walked thru downtown recently...maybe some Napans can`t see it...but it is bare...with empty store fronts lining the streets. As a concerned citizen I believe we should be RECRUITING well known retailers such as Starbucks into downtown Napa....the Council should support commerce from well known entities. David T
Catherine George March 08, 2012 at 08:18 PM
After all of that compelling, fair, and genuine testimony on Tuesday night, it was insulting to hear the council dismiss it like that. It was stated multiple times by many different commentators that this was not about being anti-franchise or anti-corporation, it was about taking an intelligent and informed look at how we want to manage what happens to our downtown. It was about the fact that other towns do this, for good reason, and those reasons were stated very clearly. It seems very odd that all of this information was not only dismissed but was painted as "too expensive and too difficult" to even consider taking a look at. Does anyone know how easy/hard, cheap/expensive it was for other towns to adopt these ordinances? St. Helena, Calistoga, and and many other towns that have these ordinances already. Why not Napa?

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