Coffee Convenience?

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MMMMM Coffee

MMMMM Coffee

New Starbucks in Cathedral raises questions

Article: Robyn Tocker – A&C Editor

 A father with an empty Safeway basket hands his daughter a drink overflowing with whipped cream. The Starbucks worker gets to work on cleaning up the counter while the little girl guzzles her treat. I could call this convenience, but it seems more like insanity. Then again, I don’t have a little daughter and the necessity to buy groceries for dinner.

As I sit across the new Starbucks in the Cathedral Safeway, two minutes don’t go by without a new customer walking up to the sleek, brown counter. People of all shapes and sizes get their caffeine fix and while it’s convenient, why is it here?

Shelley, a worker at Safeway, says all Lifestyle stores, which is what the new Safeway is, have Starbucks in them. It isn’t as if the store demanded they receive a Starbucks like all the other Safeways in the city. It helps that this is the only Starbucks in the Cathedral area.

 “We’re busy. People were dying for a Starbucks,” says Shelley.

The new, renovated Safeway opened Oct. 31 and with it the customers looking for a Starbucks poured in. Local coffee shops in the area have not seen an effect on their business yet.

Rosie, an employee from Roca Jack’s coffee shop says she has seen much more traffic in the Safeway parking lot. She has also seen new people who never went to Safeway before enter. Some staple customers who used Safeway in the past, she says, don’t go there anymore. Personally, she hasn’t seen business in the shop be affected.

“We have a solid reputation in the community.” Rosie has worked in the coffee business on and off for 15 years and with her experience, she judges Starbuck’s quality of bean is less than satisfactory, at least for her tastes. This could be a reason Roca Jack’s business is remaining steady, despite the new business in the area.

Serena, a Cathedral community member, says she is not a fan of Starbucks, and while she can’t speak for the community, for her, it’s all a personal choice.

[3A] - Arts Coffee 2“I don’t think people in the area wanted a new Safeway.”

There are local grocery stores which offer locally grown alternatives to what Safeway offers, just as there are shops like Roca Jack’s that offer a different quality of bean.

Jule Gylchrist, the owner of Cuppa-T, also has not noticed a difference with her business, but that could be because her store provides loose-leaf tea.

“There’s a difference between bagged tea and loose leaf tea, and customers know that.”

Loyal cliental is what makes it or breaks it in Cathedral, and Cuppa-T has just that.

“We have loyal customers who are geared toward supporting local businesses,” says Dalton Fayad, the owner of 13th Ave. Coffee Shop. “[Our customers] are conscientious of where their money’s going.”

Fayad says their business hasn’t been affected yet, also due to the fact that his store is also a restaurant that doesn’t rely fully on food.

“People come for food and get a coffee to go with it.”

Yet Alma, an employee at the Cathedral Safeway Starbucks, says it’s very convenient to have a Starbucks here.

“When people are shopping, they can get their coffee to go.” She says business has been going well and as Shelley said, they are busy with coffee-dependent customers.

A local business owner says they are glad to see a renovated Safeway with its Starbucks.

“It’s great. It brings people to the neighborhood. They come eat here then go get their groceries. It’s a positive thing.”

While I might be a little concerned about the little girls with frothy drinks, and I may be questioning the papery taste of my drink, I can’t blame people for seeking convenience. It does come down to choice, and if I lived in the area, I don’t know what I’d choose. But it’s nice to have options, right?

Images: Arthur Ward

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