kottke.org posts about Starbucks
Shuttered storefronts. Abandoned retail locations. Small businesses that fall like the House of Cards & Curiosities on Eighth Avenue. These are the signs of urban blight we usually associate with economic downturns or poor, forgotten neighborhoods. But these shuttered storefronts are in one of America’s wealthiest neighborhoods; NYC’s West Village. As The New Yorker’s Tim Wu explains, some urban blight emerges when economic times are too good and rents get too high. And we’re not just talking about mom and pop here. Even Starbucks is closing some Manhattan locations due to rent hikes.
Over at McSweeney’s, Gary Almeter reimagines episodes of the Little House on the Prairie TV show to reflect the presence of a Starbucks in Walnut Grove.
Charles inherits the entire estate of a wealthy uncle. Within 24 hours, the Ingallses, who are seemingly rich, suddenly become Harriet Oleson’s best pals. They are pressured to make various contributions throughout the community, and they even receive newspaper article offers to chronicle this tremendous change in their lives. Things get even worse when this newfound fortune threatens the family’s relationships with their real friends. Meanwhile, Nellie Oleson, to avenge a barista who broke Nellie’s doll, replaces the cinnamon at the Starbucks condiments bar with cayenne pepper while Mr. Edwards finally accepts the idea that coffee can be iced.
How risky is it to even wade a few inches into the gun rights debate? Just ask Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz. Today, he announced the company’s policy that seeks to keep guns out of its cafes. Sort of.
Under the change, baristas and other store employees will not ask customers who come in with guns in holsters, say, to leave or confront them in any way, Mr. Schultz said. No signs explaining the policy will be posted in Starbucks stores, either.
According to Schultz: “We are going to serve them as we would serve anyone else.” In other words, it’s still a good idea to think twice before asking for another shot with your Frappuccino.
I hope this will make saying “put it on Jason” a lot less awkward.
When Starbucks builds the Square Directory into their apps and in-store Digital Network, it gives Square new visibility, driving more customers to opt-in to Square. And with nearly 7,000 Starbucks stores soon accepting Square, these new payers will be able to find your business (including coffeehouses) and pay with their name, building community and creating value.
Update: Dan Frommer has more on how Square’s partnership with Starbucks will work.
Starbucks isn’t doing anything radical with its cashier / point of sale design / philosophy yet. There won’t be any pre-ordering drinks a block away, or paying anywhere in the cafe like you can at an Apple Store. Schultz says Starbucks has tried some of that and it’s “highly complicated.”
I read this the other day and didn’t link to it because I thought it would get a lot of attention elsewhere…but it didn’t, so here you go. Starbucks is starting a program to help their customers lend money to small businesses.
Here’s the idea they came up with: Americans themselves would start lending to small businesses, with Starbucks serving as the middleman. Starbucks would find financial institutions willing to loan to small businesses. Starbucks customers would be able to donate money to the effort when they bought their coffee. Those who gave $5 or more would get a red-white-and-blue wristband, which Schultz labeled “Indivisible.” “We are hoping it will bring back pride in the American dream,” he says. The tag line will read: “Americans Helping Americans.”
This should be a bigger story, shouldn’t it? Banks seem less and less interested in lending money to people as their primary business and things like Kickstarter and this Starbucks initiative are taking their place.
Fourteen ways in which Starbucks has tried to revitalize its brand.
8. Ditch the underperformers: In July, Starbucks announced its closure of 600 stores. Check this map for a closure near you, or peep the full list. It’s also dropping 61 of its 84 stores in Australia, and eliminating 1,000 support jobs (not including all layoffs due to stores closures).
Forget the Red State / Blue State labels; the real question is Wal-Mart State or Starbucks State.
Starbucks is switching from T-Mobile to AT&T as their wireless provider. Access will be cheaper and Starbucks Card holders will get a couple hours of free wifi a day. (via fimoculous)
Crazy story about a woman who bumps into the woman who stole her identity in a Starbucks. A chase ensues. “She had bad teeth and looked like she hadn’t bathed. I thought, ‘You’re buying Prada on my dime. Go get your teeth fixed.’”
Adding sushi to the ever-growing list of everyday consumables as economic indicators: steak, Big Macs, Starbucks coffee, Coca-Cola, and cigarettes.
An update on Bryant Simon, the fellow who’s studying Starbucks from around the world in order to write a book about the company. An observation from Britain: “Starbucks is dirtier in Britain. Americans have been taught to do part of the labour, and they clean up after themselves. In the US, part of Starbucks’ appeal is its cleanness.” 2006 New Yorker piece about Simon and his Temple University page. (via bb)
Big Mac index, meet the Coca-Cola index. The more wealthy, democratic, and the higher the quality of life, the more likely a country’s inhabitants are to drink Coke. See also Starbucks as economic indicator.
Cory has calculated the center of gravity of Starbucks in Manhattan…that is, the geographic point where all of them are pulling equally on you. It’s right around 40th St and 5th Ave.
Any Starbucks in the US (and 22 other countries) is supposed to sell you a cup of fair trade coffee if you ask them to. The Starbucks Challenge is motivating people to take them up on their offer. You can track people’s progress or join in the fun yourself.
Companies are using mapping and demographics tools and software to more efficiently site their stores. “Retailers take the annual sales of a store, then zero in on the surrounding area. The numbers can be crunched down to the spending habits of seperate groups in the same block, providing insight into what appeals to different ages, ethnic, and gender groups.”
Justin notes that he’s got 43 Starbucks within a 5-mile radius of his apartment and now he’s looking for the highest concentration:
I’ve got 43 Starbucks locations within a five-mile radius of my apartment. First of all, what the fuck? Second of all, and I can’t help but to get competitive here, can anyone beat that?
Update: 162 is the new high (from the top of Regent’s street in London).
My old work address in Manhattan (45th and Madison) has 169 stores within 5 miles. Put your address into the Starbucks locator and see what your Starbucks density is. (Note: to find the number of stores, scroll to the bottom of the search listings and find the “(Showing 1-20 of xxx Stores)” text.)