Main Street Starbucks

The Ann Arbor News seems to think the opening of another Ann Arbor Starbucks at the corner of Liberty and Main a sign that Ann Arbor is “cool”:

“Sabrina Keeley, president of the Ann Arbor Area Chamber of Commerce, said Ann Arbor’s diverse population of students and creative entrepreneurs contributes to the coffee culture. “It’s a whole mix of people who are willing to try different things, not just sitting in a board room,” she said. “A lot of people do business in these coffee shops. It’s not just social.” …

Valerie Carlborg, a national spokeswoman for Starbucks, noted that Ann Arbor is home to two of the largest Starbucks in the United States – the South University location is the fifth largest at 4,600 square feet, and the State and Liberty spot is the sixth, at 4,500 square feet.

Mike Ferguson, a spokesman for the Specialty Coffee Association, said a large university location such as Ann Arbor is perfect for a coffee culture to flourish, and that the preponderance of Starbucks often helps independent coffee makers to mature.

“The competition helps independents differentiate themselves,” he said. “It causes them to focus on their business and cater to the culture of the local community.”

Hass said that in the case of Espresso Royale, that means displaying the works of local artists and hosting free folk music performances on Saturday nights.

Cafe Verde, which is associated with the adjoining People’s Food Co-op on Fourth Avenue, purchases all of its coffee from cooperatives that work directly with the coffee growers to ensure they get a fair market price, a practice called “Fair Trade” coffee. …

Meanwhile, Starbucks continues to grow at the rate of about 3 1/2 shops a day worldwide. Ferguson says it’s easily the largest coffee shop chain the world, with more than 7,900 locations, including 59 in Michigan.

“Nobody even comes close,” Ferguson said. “There’s not really a No. 2 in any practical sense.”

> AANews: “Ann Arbor filled to brim with coffee shops”
> Also, see an earlier post: “The Gentrification of Ann Arbor”

Author: Rob