Starbucks perks up interstate coffee markets
10/18/2005 - 7:30:19 pm
Starbucks, which has long been ballyhooed – and ridiculed – for its trendy, predominantly urban retail outlets, is preparing to open a series of shops in more rural, blue-collar markets, specifically near major roadways and interstates, according to The Boston Globe.
Currently, Starbucks has about 7,000 retail stores located in all 50 states. With their expansion into rural and roadside markets, however, chain officials plan to more than double that to 15,000 stores within the next few years, according to the company’s Web site.
At the moment, the project is in its test phase. The first roadside Starbucks – complete with 50-foot-tall green sign wedged proudly amongst a Waffle House, a McDonald’s and a Flying J truck stop – has opened its doors and drive-through window along Interstate 20 near Oxford, AL.
Critics of the company’s decision claim the Starbucks phenomenon will never catch on outside of urban areas.
“Small-town America is clearly Dunkin’ Donuts land, and I think Starbucks coffee is too strong for rural America,” coffee industry analyst John Zogby told the Globe.
However, Starbucks officials told the Globe they’re sure the company’s trademarks – strong blends, iced lattes and comfy couches – will make them a highway hit.
“Once you taste a good cup of coffee, you can’t go back to hot, colored water,” said Dean Norris, a salesman who frequents the new Starbucks location.