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15th Ave protest welcomes local ‘multinational corporation’

(Photo:Lucas Anderson/

A group of Cap Hill-ers have gathered outside of Starbucks Corp.’s 15th Ave Coffee and Tea this morning to “welcome” customers into what they call “The first local coffee shop in Capitol Hill.”

Rumored to be local baristas, the group of four included what appeared to be a “Starbucks executive” and three “Starbucks Partners” boasting Starbucks’ ability to create a great local coffee. Out of character for a moment, one said that “half the people get it, and half the people don’t.”

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20 thoughts on “15th Ave protest welcomes local ‘multinational corporation’

  1. I’m actually looking forward to checking out the location. I’m not a big fan of Starbucks (unless I’m traveling through fly-over country, and need a break for decent coffee), but what I’ve read about this location suggests that it addresses many of my concerns with the McDonaldsesque nature that Starbucks locations typically embody. I’m sure it won’t be a substitute for Vivace or Victrola, but given how often those places are totally packed on the weekends, I’ll welcome another place in the neighborhood to take a good book, or meet a friend for a cup of coffee.

    Multinational corporation or otherwise, if the coffeeshop has good coffee, an inviting atmosphere, and convenient location, that’s all I care about!

  2. Thanks for the post Lucas, this is hilarious. I just hope the protestors aren’t too hard on the “local cofeehouse” employees – it’s the marketing folks who deserve a poke, not the barristas.

  3. the perfect yuppie motto: “Multinational corporation or otherwise, if the coffeeshop has good coffee, an inviting atmosphere, and convenient location, that’s all I care about!”

    Who cares if your neighbor is required by Starbucks to be on 24-hour standby ready to work at a moment’s notice (meaning you can’t have a second or third job) just to be guaranteed 20 hours a week? Who cares if Starbuck’s uses an advertising campaign called “social responsibility” to hide its anti-socially unresponsible corporate practices. Who cares if Starbuck’s CEO takes more than he gives? As long as I’m happy in my own little world, nothing else matters.

    Word of the day: solipsis

  4. We should not dislike Starbucks just to hate on “BIG BUSINESS”, however I personally disagree with the marketing strategy and find it disingenuous. Most likely they will succeed due to their general retail skills and organization.

  5. I’m headed over soon for the rest of the afternoon just to protest these protesting idiots. Out of all the shit going wrong locally and abroad, this is whay you choose to waste your and othersl time with?!

    Just go to victrola and let your money talk. All this does is take notice from something of actual worth.

  6. Talk about a tempest in a coffeepot.

    It’s a coffeeshop. If you like the coffee better (I do), shop there. If not, or you’re after something else, go there instead. It’s not like any of the alternatives create much more of a ‘coffeehouse’ atmosphere from the 1960s.

    For 99% of coffee on the Hill, it’s less about open mikes, ‘Howl’ readings, revolution-planning and more about *the coffee business* and Wi-Fi. (Does it matter where you’re sitting when 95% of the customers are obliviously reading their e-mails? That when they glance up you see icons instead of pupils?)

    Yeah, it sux that we’re drenched in corporatism AND obliviousness in the USA. So if they’re trying to be less corporate and more human, I say great. Cuz face it: there are no ‘romantic’ houses any more. (Except that one I’m not mentioning.)

  7. jbrotmanm2 (Healeo)…you are just saying that because your dad owns/runs COSTCO.

    Starbucks does not always succeed. They have had to close many stores and are desperately trying to change but have no idea what direction to go. Hmmmm, let’s sell cheap instant coffee…WAIT, no, lets be a small local coffee shot that pulls shots by hand and makes drip in small batches….WAIT, no, can we do that when we just “retrained” everyone a year ago to use the new automatic machines we got to produce shots better than the old automoatic machines we had….WAIT, we are confused…what the hell are we doing?? Are we really in a marketing competition with McDonalds and Nescafe (with enormous billboards like all local coffee shops have) while also trying to open a small local coffee shop on Capitol Hill??? Is this a dream??

    Yeah, Starbucks, what the hell are you doing? You just look silly to me!

    Honestly, they want the love and appreciation that little local coffee shops get, but they want to make a gazzilion dollars….sorry, you can’t have your cake and eat it too….

    You can dip a piece of poop in locally grow dark chocolate and serve it on a plate made from corn to a person sitting on a stool made from reclaimed wall sitting in a store painted with Linda Derschang’s apparently trademarked paint, but it will still taste like poop.

  8. I agree with jbrotmanm2 about this particular strategy; it’s disingenuous and feels a lot like they’re trying to hoodwink consumers. “Problem: The market is saturated by our brand. Solution: Change the name so you don’t know it’s a Starbucks!”

  9. “Who cares if Starbuck’s uses an advertising campaign called “social responsibility” to hide its anti-socially unresponsible corporate practices. “

  10. Will these protesters also picket the “local” coffee shops that fail to offer even half the benefits of evil Starbucks? Or are they all just foaming at the mouth (from their latte, of course)?

  11. Where were these protesters went out-of-state corporate coffee opened up shops on the Hill? (Peet’s, Stumptown)

    And Cafe Ladro has gone corporate with multiple locations in Western Washington…are they now bad too? And what about Tully’s? Victrola sold out to another coffee company; how “local” are they now? And we could go on, and on, and on…

  12. CapHillMax, I would expect an incredible wealthy large Corp like Sbux to pay more and offer better benefits than a small coffee shop…..BTW, I had a friend work in a Sbux a while back and she was repeatedly shorted hours just below the # of hours she would need to get benefits…. this behemuth is what you think it is…. a corporate cash cow that should be let out to pasture….

  13. I suppose I was a bit over-eager in my earlier post. I agree with Lonnie that it’s important to consider whether the businesses we shop at are socially responsible. I simply don’t think the case has been made here that Starbucks isn’t. This effort seems like a good faith effort to fit into the community (i.e., meeting spaces for groups and bulletin boards, using local companies for food like Essential Bakery and Beecher’s Cheese), and contrary to the concerns of Linda Derschang (who has her on feifdom in Seattle) I think that efforts to blend into the neighborhood should be applauded (do we really think trying to match a neighbor’s exterior paint color is going to hurt their business?).

    I don’t know of any neighbors who are required to be on 24 hour notice to pick up extra shifts at Starbucks, but if I wanted to be guaranteed a minimum number of hours, which if I understand correctly, at twenty hours entitles me to comprehensive health care and other employment related benefits, it would seem reasonable to me. In fact, I’ve never had a job, when I’ve worked for large corporations or small local businesses, where I wasn’t expected to pick up extra shifts when others called in sick or otherwise didn’t show up at work on short notice.

    The acts that corporations undertake, and effects they have on our community should always be considered, but on the whole, I think that Starbucks does a pretty decent job. They are recognized for treating their employees well (, and I disagree with the assertion on this thread that less successful companies should be excused from critique. If Starbucks can profit while treating its employees better than most smaller companies, all the while connecting with customers in innovative ways (for a large corporation), good for it!

  14. As my mom would have said. “get a life”.

    I don’t hang in coffee shops, could care less about the decor or the name on the door … what is this all about? How light weight when there are so many burning political and social issues. Putting any energy into this seems such a waste.

    But, then, white middle class men have always enjoyed the class privelege of the trivial in their lives, haven’t they?

    Please work on National Health Care … needs your energy … coffee house blah blah is so small time.

  15. “…one said that “half the people get it, and half the people don’t.””

    …so, you’re just wasting time and energy trying to be clever. way to go.

  16. all the angst about “deceptive branding” and “copying” aside, I have to say this new sbux is a big improvement over the previous incarnation. it’s simply a much more pleasant space.

    so, all else being equal — i.e. assuming this place was going to be some kind of sbux coffehouse no matter what — i think this is a win.