A Loss of Venti Proportions

Monday, July 28, 2008

In the wake of Starbucks' announcement of 600 store closings, there has been an outcry of loyal customers protesting the closing of their neighborhood location. David Cruz, host of Newark Today at WBGO, and Chadwick Matlin, Staff Reporter for The Big Money, Slate's soon-to-be-released business site, discuss the closings and take your calls.


David Cruz and Chadwick Matlin

Comments [32]

a woman from manhattan

Yes, Newark should be helping people start their own coffee places. I agree. They should be encouraging people to develop their own neighborhoods.

Jul. 28 2008 01:47 PM
gregg burke from NJ

Newark should look into helping a local start up a coffe house instead of whinging about Starbucks. This is a perfect time to put the money you would give them in tax breaks to build something new and local. Strbucks does not care about your community. Get over it.

Jul. 28 2008 12:27 PM
O from Forest Hills

Romance is what it is all about. What is life without love and romantic ideals to give those few moments of happiness and joy in the dismal reality of this world.

Jul. 28 2008 12:14 PM

CS--I agree. New Yorkers seem to romanticize really terrible drip coffee from delis.

Jul. 28 2008 12:10 PM

Newark has dozens of wonderful Brazilian cafés and restaurants up and down Broad Street, serving strong Brazilian cafecinhos. The Starbucks primarily serves out-of-towners and commuters working in the nearby offices and hospitals who prefer chain stores to local mom-and-pop shops. As the Crown Heights caller suggested, the issue here is one of stigma rather than economic viability and range of choice.

Jul. 28 2008 11:49 AM
victor from bronx, ny

I'm a recent migrant to NYC from San Francisco. San Francisco is crawling with great independent coffee shops, with better & cheaper coffee than any Bucks offers. Here in NYC, with perhaps the exception of Zabars, I've yet to have a cup of coffee that wasn't reminiscent of dishwater (this includes the inexplicably beloved DDs). Not sure how the business cycle evolved historically here, but if all Starbucks in the city closed I'd be a desperate & despondent caffeine addict.

Jul. 28 2008 11:49 AM
O from Forest Hills

Speaking of coffee, everyone should watch the movie "Caffeine" about a group of people all stories interconnected in an independent coffee shop in London, fantastic movie.

Jul. 28 2008 11:49 AM

As per your last caller, can we PLEASE put a moratorium on life long tri-state area residents speculating on what might or might not be in the Midwest?! Please!

I'm a native Illinoisian...I swear...we have indoor plumbing, Starbucks, independent coffee shops, etc.

Jul. 28 2008 11:47 AM
Christopher Deignan from Middle Village, Queens

I've just never gotten the whole Starbucks thing. Yes, the stores themselves are niceish to hang out in but the coffee is really not all that. I will go out of my way to not use Starbucks. I think the customer service is middling at best too...

Jul. 28 2008 11:47 AM
Jennifer H from Brooklyn

I don't go there anymore because I can't afford it!

Jul. 28 2008 11:46 AM
O from Forest Hills

Dunkin Donuts coffee, not for me, I am a tea snob and always appreciated the good tea from Starbucks but it wasn't quality.

Jul. 28 2008 11:45 AM
Helene Papageorge from Queens

"What goes around..." Starbucks [Dunkin Donuts to a lesser extent] have put smaller independent coffee houses out-of-biz. It's an arrogant thing to say they are part of the community when Starbucks worked very hard in their very cold corporate way to put smaller mom and pop coffee places--nice places, out of their own communities.
Starbucks has worked so hard to ruin small neighborhood coffee shops then turns on the community they impacted.

Jul. 28 2008 11:45 AM
Severn from Manhattan

This, unfortunately, is the second phase of small shops being replaced by large chains: when times get rough, the chains will pull out because they have no community ties and because closing the store is merely a line item for them. Big box stores make big-box holes when they leave.

Jul. 28 2008 11:45 AM
Robert from NYC

In #14 UNITE not UNIT 2x. Not my day.

Jul. 28 2008 11:44 AM
Benita from Greenwich Village

The property that will be vacated by Starbucks leaving will either remain for rent or be filled by a bank or a drugstore. Even Starbucks is preferable to those.

Jul. 28 2008 11:44 AM
Megan from NJ

The Rutgers Newark Starbucks is always packed during the school year. It has been a good thing for the campus, I think.

Jul. 28 2008 11:44 AM
Jess from White Plains, NY

I'm surprised that no one seems to have mentioned the disproportionate number of minority neighborhoods that are afflicted...Starbucks, for all its corporate structure, has always insisted that it was a company above the fray with some commitment to the community. I'm very disappointed. (And I'm a Seattle-ite and a loyal Starbucks customer.)

Jul. 28 2008 11:41 AM
Cynthia from Brooklyn, NY

Rather than shutting down the single Starbucks in places like Newark, maybe they should consider shutting down one or more of the multiple Starbucks per square city block in NYC.

Jul. 28 2008 11:40 AM
Robert from NYC

Contrary to what one of the commentators said about SB being a place for the community to unit, I say it was just as divisive. Just as many folk like me do not go to SB and feel SB to be intrusive in the area and, yes, many old neighborhood shops were closed to be taken over by SB. So as far as it being a place to "unit" the community it's just as divisive.

Jul. 28 2008 11:39 AM
a woman from manhattan

There was a Starbucks in our neighborhood (138th and b'way) a few years back but it closed. Now we have a place run by neighborhood people, and it caters to the gentrifiers as well as to the people who DIDN'T go to the closed down Starbucks. They have espresso for a dollar, and it's way better than Starbucks, which was nasty, expensive, and an invading presence that didn't benefit our neighborhood. Our new place is owned, run by and employs people from our neighborhood.

Who need Starbucks! Not us!

Jul. 28 2008 11:39 AM
michael winslow from INWOOD

Their coffee stinks and over priced.

See ya!

Jul. 28 2008 11:39 AM
World's Toughest Milkman from the_C_train

Save your money in these tough economic times and make your own. I'm a bit shocked that people are crying about their coffee but not the employees.

Jul. 28 2008 11:38 AM
sbs from new york

It only opens at 8:00, whereas others open much earlier, obviously, the company couldn't afford to keep this one open, right? If no one was coming to the SB before 8:00, it wasn't the neighborhood that was visiting it was visiting suburban workers who could afford it.

Jul. 28 2008 11:37 AM

I guess I don't understand why Starbucks would close a store that is popular- like the one in Newark. is the problem that those stores aren't in a hip enough location? is this all about branding and stores acting as advertising (as in union square and astor place)?

Jul. 28 2008 11:36 AM
O from Forest Hills

I will miss Starbucks, I remember the romantic liasons I would meet my boyfriend at Starbucks and we would sit and talk for hours. Guess we'll have to find another coffee shop.

Adios Starbucks.

Jul. 28 2008 11:35 AM
Robert from NYC

Let me give my heartfelt expressions of this...


Lousy french blend with Italian names and way too high prices. Ciao, mon ami. Toot a loo

Jul. 28 2008 11:06 AM
M from NJ

Are you surprised?

Their coffee is way overpriced. (an in this economy?)

Jul. 28 2008 10:38 AM
Leshka from UES

There was a small chain drug store in my neighborhood, that was run by people who liked the area and had good products. Not only was it bought up by Duane Reade, but then a small Starbucks moved in.

Long live corporations...

Jul. 28 2008 10:26 AM
Glenn from Manhattan

I have tried Starbucks with their debit card.It is simply a big corporate giant with a good consistent product, but no commitment to neighborhoods. (a la Wal-Mart) I did walk in once recently and was about third in line and all the employees were playing with the store computers in some way not paying attention to the customers.

The store closings will cause a reduction in NYC sales taxes collected, which the City Controller is due to give a report on today.

Jul. 28 2008 10:06 AM
jt from Long Island

Colbert had a great take on it last week:

Jul. 28 2008 10:00 AM
Gary from Upper Left Side

Maybe Congress should create a bail-out package for all those people who made poor coffee choices.

(Perhaps Leonard can ask Speaker Pelosi about that at noon.)

Jul. 28 2008 09:06 AM
Robert from NYC

Awwww, poor babies, Starbucks is closing where will they hang out. Well as as segment on this show just last week pointed out, things change and you must adapt to the changes. I'm old enough to remember the candy store/ ice cream parlor hang-out days and now they're gone. Personally I wish all Starbucks would close, I never use them. I buy my own Porto Rico Co. coffees, grind them myslef and enjoy them at a much lower price than the stuff Starbucks pushes at outrageous prices. Buhbbye Starbucks, buhbbye.
Maybe ice cream parlors should return to out culture.

Jul. 28 2008 08:52 AM

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