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Unclassified Info: There's an upside to a corner Starbucks

January 16, 2012|By Gary Huerta

For a city about to proclaim itself as animated, there is not much going on these days. I realize it's the “dead of winter,” but do we always have to embody the “dead” part so much?

To tell the truth, slow news weeks are where we local columnists really earn our money. Believe it or not, it takes real effort to make the potential opening of a new Starbucks seem controversial, much less interesting. Just read for yourself.

Frankly, I'm a bit surprised anyone would decry the coffee shop's invasion into the otherwise sleepy little shopping area known as Montrose Village. OK. I get that the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf might not be jumping for joy. Having a direct competitor right across the street can't be the best thing for their cash register. But in reality, there are more than enough Java junkies to go around. And my philosophy is it will be good for the general public to have two close rivals battling it out for customer loyalty. Who knows? We may see a radical reduction in the price of scones, which would be a nice thing to have before the Mayan calendar runs out and the world ends later this year.

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As far as neighboring businesses, what is there to complain about?

Starbucks patrons are notorious loiterers, which has to be good for surrounding businesses. Pepe's might sell a few more chimichangas, Tom's Toys could clear its inventory of Rubik's Cubes, and even Faye's may see a lift in women's flannel pajama sales. Caffeine addicts have to eat, occupy their jittery hands and sleep eventually, don't they?

In reality, every citizen within 10 miles of Montrose ought to be grateful Starbucks chose the site before the soon-to-be-defunct Glendale Redevelopment Agency could declare the corner blighted and give it to Rick Caruso lock, stock and barrel. For all we know, the inevitable expansion of the Americana could have easily swallowed Montrose whole had it not been for the intervention of the good folks at Starbucks.

I know there are some downsides to another coffee house. There will be more people working on their screenplays in public, which is always irritating. And there will be yet another line of people ordering their, “Venti nonfat half-decaf latte with 2.5 tablespoons of foam mixed with three Splenda packets heated to 140 degrees Fahrenheit.” Honestly, if it takes you longer to order your beverage than to drink it, you might have an obsessive/compulsive disorder.

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