$13 vs. $45: Starbucks knows why you are buying local

One of the most controversial topics in the CHS community is whether Starbucks’ 15th Avenue Coffee and Tea is good or bad for the neighborhood.  BusinessWeek explains that 15th Avenue may signal the growing powercorporate acknowledgment of the “buy local”movement:

By now, residents of Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood have figured out that their trendy new coffee shop, 15th Ave. Coffee & Tea, is actually owned by Starbucks.  With fresh flowers, beans ground to order, and a “help yourself” policy regarding used coffee grounds—for composting, of course—the store could pass for a locally owned café.

Starbucks’ “unbranding” initiative is just one sign of the growing influence of the “buy local” movement—a longtime New Urbanist dream that has finally started to become a reality in the past two years.

The Starbucks angle is less interesting than some of the studies portrayed in the BW infographic. In one, a study showed that $45 of every $100 spent in a truly local store stayed in the local economy vs. only $13 of the cash spent at a big chain.

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8 thoughts on “$13 vs. $45: Starbucks knows why you are buying local

  1. That’s some pretty fancy spinnin’ there, seadevi: the evil corporate overwolves make themselves a sheepsuit to enable them to dishonestly nab the buy-local dollars, and you tie a bow on it and tell us that if it SMELLS like buy-local, it must BE buy-local. Only, cept it’s not.

    The buy-local movement has thrown up a firebreak in the path of Starbucks’ globe-consuming juggernaut, and Starbucks’ has responded by not by changing its tactics, but by changing its mask.

    I hope your intention was to follow Toto’s example by pulling aside the drapery. Unfortunately it reads a bit like you’re telling us to pay no attention to the man behind the curtain. Maybe the Stealthbucks is serving Koolaid as well as coffee.

  2. If you are that fooled by what Starbucks is doing (by adding a new brand) then you are an idiot.

    Victrola – not local
    Stumptown – not local
    Starbucks – well, it is headquartered in Seattle and provides many local residents jobs both in retail and at their corporate headquarters. Those corporate jobs give people money to spend at local shops, bars, and restaurants.

    Without Starbucks many of these “local” shops would not be in business or be able to charge the crazy prices they do today. These “local” coffee shops have benefited from Starbucks success.

    Define local. There really isn’t one definition.

  3. The buy local movement is an intentional effort by consumers to support local business. Local business cannot be defined by an international conglomeration with shops on the Great Wall of China & in Vatican City.

    The only thing I have against the Fauxbux is their cynical attempt to cash in on a movement that by nature supports small, independent business. It’s a market driven positioning strategy and it’s inherently dishonest. If you are a corporate entity with shareholders and international outposts, say so, say it proudly. It’s something to be proud of. Stand up and say “we make a good profit, we employ people, we provide a good product.” Much to be proud of there. But don’t adopt a marketing strategy that tries to capitalize on a growing interest by consumers in supporting truly local, mom and pop neighborhood business. That’s repulsive.

    A multibillion dollar corporation is not in the same category as a neighborhood business. It’s not, it never will be. Multibillion dollar international corporations can do great things, for the economy, for social justice, for keeping a free market economy active. But they are not Mom & Pops. Trying to equate the two is akin to comparing apples to ice skaters. Not the same animal.

    Trying to cash in on the buy local movement is whay makes Fauxbux skeevy to me.

  4. That’s some pretty fancy reading comprehension there, Cletus: Telling us that quoting an article is just like agreeing with an article. Only, cept it’s not.

  5. Interesting statistic you shared: $45 vs. $13 staying local when buying local. Thanks for calling it out. It reinforces buying local isn’t just about karma and what is good for a specific local shop owner, but that it ripples out to other local businesses as well.

  6. It is only looking at a specific portion of the economy. You can always manipulate statistics to your advantage when you do that.