Is The ‘Buck Stopping?

So Starbucks announced that it was closing 600 stores this week, an announcement that we’re sure caused many San Franciscans to raise a glass and acknowledge that the world isn’t such a bad place after all.

They haven’t yet revealed all of the stores that will be closing and we haven’t seen any “Going Out of Business” signs in in the Starbucks windows we’ve passed here in the city, but we’re hoping this means we also won’t see as many “Starbucks Coming Soon” signs either.

Earlier this year the Inner Richmond was fighting the opening of a new Starbucks kiosk in the remodeled Safeway at 7th and Cabrillo. A great deal of the protesting was led by small business owners and Inner Richmond residents who like their living space as corporate-free as possible. Previous Velo Rouge Cafe owner, Megan Lynch, kept a copy of the Richmond Against Starbucks petition at the Velo Rouge cash register and successfully helped collect enough signatures to come out victorious, which is particularly poignant considering she also helped squash another Starbucks opening (5th Avenue and Geary) summer 2007.

Starbucks’ Chief Financial Officer Pete Bocian reported that “between 25 and 30 percent of a Starbucks shop’s revenue is cannibalized when a new store opens nearby” to which we say, “Duh.” Seriously Starbucks, opening a store 200 yards away from an existing Starbucks that was opened on the opposite corner of another Starbucks is one of those idiotic business strategies that we just can’t believe large corporations still fall victim to. You’re competing with yourself at that point, why would you do that?

But we’re happy that greed seems to be taking its toll on the Starbucks saturated coffee market because that means lovely, independent coffee shops like Velo Rouge can not only keep a going, but hopefully start to come out ahead.

In related news, we got a small (not a Tall) cup of drip this morning from a large corporate coffee seller who shall not be named and after one sip of what tasted like hot water we promptly went to the The Sentinel where Holly, friendly barista and order apprentice, made everything right.

Velo Rouge Cafe [Menupages]
Velo Rouge Cafe [Official Site]
The Sentinel [Menupages]
Starbucks [Official Site]

[Photo via hillary h/Flickr]


Is The ‘Buck Stopping?