Oct 022006
Authors: MEGAN TRUSTY The Rocky Mountain Collegian

Starbucks Coffee Company announced this week that it will be hiking up its prices at all of its company-operated stores here and in Canada.

Starting today, Starbucks will increase the price of its beverages, including drip coffee, lattes, cappuccinos and other drinks, by 5 cents. The company is also raising the price of its coffee beans by about 50 cents per pound.

Local coffee drinkers who frequent Starbucks said they don’t think the price increase will affect their tendency to buy coffee from the company, and they don’t plan to stop going to Starbucks.

“I don’t think people will really notice a difference,” said Christine Benson, a senior math education major. “If they’re going to pay $3 or $4 for a cup of coffee they shouldn’t complain about 5 cents.”

Starbucks issued a statement that said the price increase is in response to higher fuel, energy and labor costs.

Other Starbucks lovers expressed disappointment with the price hike but agreed it won’t affect their tendency to visit the store.

“I think it sucks, but I’m a Starbucks addict so it won’t really matter,” said Sarah Kapp, a freshman human development and family studies major.

The price increase seems like it comes at an inconvenient time for the company, given recent setbacks Starbucks has seen in past months.

Ongoing struggles involving labor disputes, increased competition tapping into its market, a movie production gone bad and most recently a mishap involving online coupons that turned into a PR nightmare are a few troubles Starbucks saw over the summer.

It seems odd that Starbucks would raise its prices now, but the company said it believes in the support of its customers.

“We recognize the impact this increase has on our customers,” the company said in a statement. “We appreciate our customers’ ongoing support and patronage and we are committed to delivering the ‘Starbucks Experience’ to them every day.”

Local coffee shop owners said they don’t think the increase in price will turn off customers who already go to Starbucks, but they hope it will bring more people into their shops.

“I hope it brings more people into local shops because that’s good for the local economy,” said McCabe Callahan, owner of Mugs Coffee Lounge in Fort Collins.

Callahan added that he doesn’t think Starbucks will see less business because its main market is upper-middle class consumers and the majority of its customers won’t care about a 5 cent increase.

Callahan said he understands the need to raise prices at times and while he acknowledges Starbucks as a competitor, he admires the company for what it has done for other coffee shops.

“Without Starbucks none of us local shops would be around,” he said. “There was no such thing as coffee shops before it was around.”

Staff writer Megan Trusty can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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