Mar 052002

As the new Starbucks coffee shop is set to open on the main floor of the renovated Northern Hotel in Old Town, it is bound to draw protest from anti-corporate groups.

These groups and individuals will raise many valid points about the negative aspects of a corporate chain like Starbucks settling in Old Town – the one commercial area of Fort Collins that has kept its historical charm throughout the years, making it as unique as any downtown area in the country.

Currently, there are at least six locally managed coffee shops within two blocks of the new Starbucks.

Unlike these local retailers, Starbucks profits won’t necessarily go back into the Fort Collins community. There are also questions of fair-trade coffee and corporate hegemony surrounding Starbucks.

While these concerns forced many people in the Fort Collins community to object to allowing Starbucks in Old Town, we feel Starbucks should ultimately have the freedom to decide their location. At the same time, Fort Collins residents hold the power to control the fate of the Starbucks in Old Town – and all businesses, for that matter.

In the system of free trade and capitalism – which, like it or not, we live in – consumers will ultimately make the choice of which businesses are successful.

If Fort Collins residents truly believe in the importance of locally owned stores in Old Town, then they should not patronize Starbucks.

The coffee conglomerate wasn’t always a huge corporation. Starbucks started in the 1970s as a Seattle corner coffee shop not unlike Starry Night or De Ja Vu. Now, however, its trademark House Blend coffees and Frappuccinos reach across the globe, from Seattle to Singapore.

Starbucks, which is headquartered in Seattle, is not a franchise corporation. This means that the large majority of the Old Town store’s profits will be funneled back to Seattle, not to Old Town. For instance, Starbucks’ accountants and lawyers will most likely be from Washington, not Fort Collins.

People who disagree with Starbucks’ practices should not waste time trying to deny the store its rightful choice of location, but instead continue to frequent locally owned coffee shops in Old Town as if Starbucks was never here.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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