Sunday, May 20, 2007

Moore v. Stone in Coffee to Coffee Combat

Blow up the coffee cup balloons; let's win one for the sippers. What's with urban planning at Western and Howard, anyway? First, we had 'pharmacy wars' and now its dunking for dollars! Biscotti or donuts? Good, bad, or ugly? Time will tell, but where is the love? Or the City of Chicago's commercial planning department? Perhaps, they have 'O-D-ed' on latte at Starbucks!
Retail stores that bring jobs and tax dollars to the 49th are good, even if it is Starbucks. I'm tired of jealous pedantics reaming success; if you don't like it, open your own coffee joint. Yes, a few may love to hate Starbucks with frustration that unions cannot find a way to turn a successful business into a closed shop.
Unions need to support those who cannot organize particularly those who are unlawful; they are the ones in need of collective bargaining with our Government, let alone, an employer. If you don't like Starbucks, you can vote with your dollars and hike to the Common Cup, among other independent Rogers Park coffee klatsches.

Product, demand, service, and/or location is all that it takes to make a local or national shop a success, 'go IPO,' or get bought out. Why is 'big' bad, when it reasonably serves a community? You don't have to work there or even put down a red cent for a single purchase. Of course, I am trying to digest "Rich Dad Poor Dad," (yes, I have read the John T. Reed analysis), but I am in one of those Milton Friedman "Free to Choose" moods and inspiration is a good thing.

I did not understand the inner workings of Starbucks, so I headed to its website to see how franchising, if any, works. Starbucks does not franchise to individuals. However, "in situations in which a master concessionaire or other company controls or can provide improved access to desirable retail space (such as an airport), the Company may consider licensing its operations to such a company." This is why the Gateway Dominicks has union workers manning its Starbuck's kiosk. Unfortunately, the service is inconsistent and uninspiring. Where is a reasonable union steward when you need one. Hopefully, this has changed.

Of course, Dunkin Donuts is Bernie's Stone's cholesterol ladden competitor on the Southwest corner. It also contains a Baskin Robbins and Togos (now part of Dunkin Donuts, et. al.). The location established itself several years ago. DD is sometimes a franchise opportunity, but too common for those into Italian Roasted Coffee beans; which is stronger or more bitter than DD Coffee depending upon your opinion. Contrary to a few extreme Democrats, this is not a partisan matter.
DD has given some the opportunity to secure relative independence. Albeit, the National gets its royalties. Starbucks simply expands and adds layers of management, since it has snowballed into the near monopoly Coffee Klatsch for the middle class in most U.S. suburbs, downtown regions, and shopping malls.

I have a certain caffeination to see a real Starbucks, Peets, Argo, or some independent establish itself farther southeast deep in the heart of the 49th in some neighborhood shopping strip experiencing blight. However, the corner of choice for a Starbucks would have been Ridge, Rogers and Touhy at the former Roberts Bike Shop, among other underdeveloped areas just east. Development can change things, but 'land banking' often perpetuates disfunction.

Many cyclists bike south down Ridge. Imagine a coffee shop, any coffee/tea shop, that satisfies both cycle clubs on the road and sobers up the locals. We might even get a few of Chicago's Finest to stop by, as well. Of course, that corner is known to have a rare challenge with local yocals and young suburbanites, who also drive under the influence of testosterone and may suffer from bouts of Thanatos. For those who remember, Roberts did not renew its lease on their second location after some idiot drove his/her car into their store front about six years ago. More sensitive street light signals and a coffee shop could deter abuse and encourage bikers.

My opinions about the newer store front medical operation that replaced Roberts is guarded optimism. However, I digress out of the need for caffein or some sort of non-caffeinated tea outlet on that corner. There are locals who want to listen to jazz, play chess, and leave the condo, townhouse, or home for a moment. Some of us don't hang out at "the Lampost" or "the Ho." Of course, Starbucks will definitely be seen at Western and Howard. On the other hand, there is not a single Dunkin Donuts in Seattle [Starbuck's genesis] based upon some reports. In the mood for a French cruller, now or do its Massachusetts roots make you bitter?
Well, you can always brew your coffee at home, avoid the Latte effect, and eventually become a millionaire according to some Oprah fans! I think that I will stick with home brewed tea.