Ok, so we’ve had a couple posts in recent weeks about coffee shops in our northern neighbor, Canada, opening amidst tough economic times, and now we’ve got one a little closer to home. This story, out of the Seattle Times, reports on the upswing of new shops opening in the city.
Our friend Matt Milletto from the American Barista and Coffee School has some good and educational quotes in the story, but this line in the article stood out for me: [A new café owner] is among a handful of optimists opening local coffeehouses at the same time consumers are pulling back from their latte habits enough to seriously damage Starbucks’ profits.
I wonder, though, how much the economic situation is to blame for Starbucks’ continuing problems and how much is from the company’s own over-reach, unsustainable growth patterns and wildly vacillating strategies to win back customers. If in the meanwhile, independent coffee shops can open and grow, I would think that would be an indication that there is still room even in a down economy for quality-minded cafés to succeed. Let’s hope that’s the case.