Seattle’s 15th Avenue Coffee and Tea doesn’t look like a Starbucks, but it is one. The store is the prototype for the latest in Starbucks’ string of ploys to reinvigorate flagging sales, the Seattle Times reports. It’s one of three Seattle-area Starbucks stores (the two other locations, currently nameless, are behind plywood that unsubtly declares “YOUR neighborhood coffeeshop is getting a makeover”) that have been remodeled to eliminate all traces of the infamous green logo. The move is one that Starbucks’ VP of global design Tim Pfeiffer hopes will deliver “a community personality” — Each store will have a unique, location-specific name, with branded coffee, mugs, and other products.
Seattle’s actual independent coffeeshop owners are none too pleased about Starbucks’ faux-indie posturing, and some are claiming that the ‘Bucks flagrantly ripped off their shops: “They spent the last 12 months in our store up on 15th [Avenue] with these obnoxious folders that said, ‘Observation,’” one proprietor told the Times. Starbucks apparently could care less — if the pilot picks up in Seattle, the plan is to roll it out to other markets nationwide. [Seattle Times]