Independents have a history of complaining too much about Starbucks.
Instead of taking on the challenge they want to remove it.
This could be a great way to light a fire under the independent's butts and get them to start giving better service, quality (yes quality), atmosphere, and price.
If this ends up being a "game changer" then I hope we don't call foul where there is none just to buy time or to demonize the opposition.
This brings me to a question... What are we in this market for? Is it profit? If so, how are we different from Starbucks? We would have no room to rip on them, other than the fact that they make more profit than we do. Is it for philanthropy? If so, what if this approach by Starbucks causes a substantial positive change in the thrid world coffee grower's sustainability? If they are truly trying to go thrid wave, this would be one of the outcomes. If not, the consumer would know. Are we in this for our love of coffee quality, tradition and community? If so, wouldn't a power broker that is increasing quality, carrying on tradition and building the coffee community be right in line with us?
Long story short, as soon as we see the mermaid arch her back and surface in a new light, our quills come out. Let's calm down and try to find some points of psoitivity from these developments. If Starbucks is truly going to begin pushing those of us who are in the third wave market, then let them push us. This is a good thing. We need a good push. Victrola is an amazing company. Am I a bit upset that they are going to possibly lose business to the tricky mermaid? Absolutely. But, at the same time I am excited. I know that the daily friction that they will have, due to the proximity of their store and the discussions that will go on their store, Victrola will be sharpened more and more. They will only get better. It will force them to refine their approach in marketing, who they hire, how they train, what they offer on their menu, etc... OR, it will show them why they do what they do and solidify their reasoning and identity. Competition makes us better. The bigger and stronger our opponent is, the harder it forces us to work. Plus, we do not approach coffee competition the same way competition is approached in other fields. We win by leading, not by crushing. We are not going to crush Strabucks, but we are going to be better than them. No ammount of money in the world can supply the kind of experiences that we who are passionate about our craft can offer. So let's not get pissed, afraid or disheartened. Let's get in Victrola's corner. Let's continue refining each other, and helping one another. Let's continue to be constructive and curious. Remeber, quality is not a solid wood interior, it's in the heart of the shop. People can discern the difference.
Yes, valid opinion on both sides here. In theory, quality should improve across the board and being sbux haters doesn't actually get us any further ahead. But, what does annoy me about this whole thing is how deceptive it is. Regardless of whether they change their name and look, they are still Starbucks. Their vast resources, buying power, corporate staff, etc., give them a huge advantage that does not make for anything resembling a level playing field in the independent realm. Many customers will buy right into it, not knowing any better, and thinking they're supporting a nice, local independent shop.
Whining about it though is about as useful as resenting them, but I think they should stick to their fast food world. And we need to become activists in our communities when one of these imposter stores moves into the neighborhood, and publicize the fact that it's just another corporate owned sbux w/ an alias.