I was just reading an opinion piece in today's WALL STREET JOURNAL. The author, Daniel Henninger, was commenting on the proposed closing of several Starbucks stores in an effort to cut expenses. Apparently, many people are begging Starbucks not to close their store. This is the coffee-lovers version of NIMBY. Close one of the others, but not mine.
Mr. Henninger states that it can't be just about the coffee, especially in the larger cities where there are Starbucks on almost every other corner. There must be more to it. Would people feel this strongly if the local Dunkin' Donuts closed, or even a Whole Foods? For some reason, people don't want to go two or three blocks to another Starbucks. It's a neighborhood thing.
This campaign to save Starbucks has been compared with the campaigns to save military bases or the closings of neighborhood churches.
There's a certain level of comfort in the local Starbucks. Even though there's no sign on the wall asking you to be quiet or polite, the patrons are. And the partrons cover all the demographics. You will find businessmen in suits, casual Friday clothes and even truck drivers. All searching for a good cup of coffee and a little quiet in their hectic world.
Maybe Starbucks has replaced the corner bar. It's certainly healthier given the recent findings that coffee may have some health benefits. More about that another time.