Battle brewing over proposed Starbucks in Takoma Park
TAKOMA PARK, Md. (WJLA) --- Starbucks is reportedly scouting locations in-and-around downtown Takoma Park in hopes of opening a new store, but the funky-hipster-Bohemian neighborhood isn't welcoming the idea with open arms.
The Old Takoma Business Association, which represents the interests of around 100 locally owned shops, restaurants, cafes and stores, launched an online comment board to sample the community's opinion on the matter. To date, nearly 100 people have shared their views, roughly 70 percent being anti-Starbucks. Here's a sample of comments:
Amy Turim: "We have plenty of good coffee in Takoma Park, and WHY must we host Starbucks? Keep Takoma Park Local & Neighborly."
Rebecca Wallace: "We moved to this area for the small town, local feel. Starbucks not only will threaten that feeling, it will actively take clientele away from local businesses. No no no to Starbucks."
Chris Valvardi: "Why not add a Target, Best Buy, Bed Bath Beyond, Modells, and Chik Fil A to Old Takoma? For those who crave SB, I daresay there are plenty within easy reach."
Mike Reust: "If Starbucks thinks they can make a go of it here in Takoma Park, then let them in. Consumers can vote with their dollars as to whether they are successful or not."
Andrew Heitman: "It is worth noting that Starbucks is an exemplary employer when it comes to providing benefits even for part-time employees. 20 hours a week opens up access to 401k and health plans, I believe. The benefit of having a business like this in the area goes well beyond who owns it. Ownership cannot be the end-all be-all for inclusion into a community. A balance between local and national is okay- the balance still leans heavily towards the local."
Leslie Nathan: "I enjoy the coffee places here but I often find myself wishing a Starbucks was nearby. They have options the other places don't, ones that I enjoy."
Downtown Takoma Park is currently home to at least four locally-owned coffee shops: Busboys and Poets, Dolci Gelati, La Mano Coffee Bar, and Capital City Cheesecake. Most of their customers say they don't want to see Frappuccinos of any sort on Takoma streets.
"There are already enough Starbucks [locations] so I'd rather have these little-smaller places thrive," Capital City Cheesecake customer Peter Bogdanich said.
"I don't want a McDonald's down here. We don't need a Starbucks down here. I don't want a Dunkin' Donuts down here. We don't have to go far to find any of those things," Capital City Cheesecake customer Thomas Kenny added.
In fact, the nearest assortment of Tall, Grande and Venti beverages is a short 2.7 miles drive to the outskirts of Takoma Park, at the corner of New Hampshire Avenue and University Boulevard East. On Sunday, that Starbucks was packed with people sipping from their red holiday cups.
This isn't the first time the opening of chain store has caused a rift along the free-thinking streets of Takoma Park. Residents were up-in-arms when an Ace Hardware and Subway setup shop in previous years. Resident ultimately accepted both businesses upon learning they would be locally franchised.
However, the big question remains: What building/s does Starbucks have its eyes set on? ABC7 News contacted the Seattle-based coffee giant's media affairs department, but has not heard back.