Good News for Local Coffee Houses

December 2007

Conventional wisdom dictates that the arrival of a new Starbucks is a death sentence for a neighborhood's independently owned coffee houses. Maybe not, says Slate:

In its predatory store placement strategy, Starbucks has been about as lethal a killer as a fluffy bunny rabbit. Business for independently owned coffee shops has been nothing less than exceptional as of late. Here's a statistic that might be surprising, given the omnipresence of the Starbucks empire: According to recent figures from the Specialty Coffee Association of America, 57 percent of the nation's coffeehouses are still mom and pops. Just over the five-year period from 2000 to 2005--long after Starbucks supposedly obliterated indie cafes--the number of mom and pops grew 40 percent, from 9,800 to nearly 14,000 coffeehouses. (Starbucks, I might add, tripled in size over that same time period. Good times all around.)

There's a new Starbucks opening this week right outside 5280's parking garage, which will knock a city block off my morning walk from my car to the office. If you're looking for an independent java fix in Denver, here's the best place to start.

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