Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Coffee Wars

Interesting news. An article in the newspaper today reported that Starbucks is making a move to do some major restructuring. The current CEO is being replaced and they plan on closing U.S. stores that aren't performing well. The company has seen its stock plummet 50 percent over the last year. They are also being hit with competition from you guessed it - McDonalds! A CBS News article details McDonald's plans on adding their very own coffee bars with baristas!

All I can say is that Starbucks has completely saturated the coffee market in recent years -- with stores in every street corner and even inside grocery stores for heavens sake! And McDonald's coffee is actually pretty good -- and much cheaper I might add. Yeah, I don't really feel sorry for Starbucks, although I don't wish any harm to their business either. It will just be interesting to see how it all plays out.

Who will I support? hmmm... well, there's a bunch of small, independently owned coffee shops that are worth a visit, and certainly deserving of our business. Although I'm pretty cheap and prefer to make my own coffee at home and at work, I'll have to look out and pay more attention to these small shops. I just wish they were more conveniently located... which is possibly the reason we frequent Starbucks, located in just about every corner! argh!

Anyway, I'm not very good at commentary. So I'll just finish off this post by including some coffee-related ATC's I made especially for people or for group trades.

"Pacman's Coffee" for Jeff; "Kona Coffee Island Fairy" for a fairy swap; "Big Cup of Coffee" for Sheri

"Greedo's Coffee" for a Star Wars swap


steve said...

Awesome coffee-guzzlin' Greedo JC! Great cards here! Yeah, I read that too and am not surprised. I like coffee, maybe a bit too much, which is why I've cut down on it considerable (it was making me a spaz, then I'd crash). Still, I do like to support the smaller, independent places, which seem to be disappearing more and more unfortunately. Making it at home is the best way to go budget-wise, but there's that communal aspect of the coffe house, at least in a classic, more traditional sense, that people enjoy, including me. I hit Dunkin' Donuts myself these days--right across the nearest Starbucks in my town. Speaking of--I need to do those "Hello From" cards soon! Hmmm, I don't think a Starbucks card would be too original though, huh?

JC said...

Thanks Steve! I love my coffee but I've had to take drastic action and cut waaay back for the same reasons as you, and now I am quite happy with (gasp) decaf! =) Yes, I do think the atmosphere of these places is the reason we gravitate towards them, for me at least.

Looking forward to seeing your "hello from" cards! hehe, I'm sure if you did a starbucks card you would put an original take on it, given your creativity. Actually I might do some of my favorite coffee spots around here. Thanks for the idea!!!

mike r baker said...

Love the Greedo coffee ATC! Must be what happened between him and Han... too jacked up on caffeine. :)

Zari said...

-Closing Starbucks?!?! Where I’m I going to get the sleeves for the atcs, the napkins for the cards....ooooh! What a disaster!Kidding!

-Smaller and personal shops really need a lot of support to survive! Here in Lebanon Starbucks is everywhere too, I used to get may cup of coffee almost daily on my way to work, but I’ve realized I was spending too much,and as there are no smaller coffeehouses around, I decided to prepare my cup of coffee at work – I’ll only have my large Starbucks mocha in case I’m really sleepy so that I can make it to the office haha

-Haven't you received my mail?-

-hugs hugs hugs!

JC said...

Thanks Mike! Yes, I should have added a description to Greedo's card. Han shot first, only because he saw that caffeine-crazed look in Greedo's eyes! =)

Thank you Zari! Well, I understood that Starbucks was going to slow down the number of U.S. stores opening. I think they are actually looking at expanding their overseas market. I make my coffee at work, too -- but I'm planning a visit to some local, independent coffee shops to give them my business. I will check my post office box soon! Thanks again and lots of hugs to you too! =)

Pickledog said...

In Ontario the coffee market was/is dominated by Tim Hortons, so I think that Starbucks expanding into Canada was actually a good thing.

We had a Krispy Creams here but didn't do very well. I always thought their coffee tasted like donuts anyway.

Love the Greedo. "Jabba wah ning chee kospa Starbucks."

JC said...

Thanks David! That's great the Starbucks there is creating competition - it benefits the consumer. I always thought Krispy Cremes were a tad overrated, but that's just me. Haha, your Greedo quote made me laugh! =)

Kathy Weller said...

I really do hear you on Starbucks being a corporate giant vs. small indie coffee shops.

For a long, long time I avoided Starbucks like the plague. I like to support my indies, you know? But a few years ago, one of my pet portrait clients gifted me with a $50 Starbucks Gift Card. I was very appreciative of the gift, but I was certainly not a "Starbucks" person. In fact, I had been carrying around a general dislike of Starbucks based solely on the fact that they are a big corporate giant, the "Borders Books" of coffee. I felt that I needed no other reason to not patronize them.

I ended up using the gift card, and in the process I cultivated a different attitude about SB. I think they have a real niche in the market because they do provide a specialized service -- making Type A drinks for Type A people. PLUS, their design is beautiful. They CARE about aesthetics of their shops and everything in them, and they are detail-oriented. These things really impressed me over the course of getting to know the personality of Starbucks, as a patron.

I am now a frequent SB visitor because I think they do a really good job in so many areas, and I am a satisfied customer.

I still frequent my local indies, for the same reasons - I like the products and I like to help support the local economy. But I'm not down on SB any more.

Anyway, this is all neither here nor there!! :) Please 'scuse the book. I just wanted to comment on this great subject. Thanks for blogging about it. I'm following this story closely and it looks like you are too. I am very interested in all that it says about so many things socially, culturally, economically - not least of which is the US's current state of affairs.

Take care,

JC said...

Hi Kathy, Thanks so much for your thoughtful and insightful comments! I, too, appreciate the quality of Starbucks products, but I'm really trying to support the more independent shops more so now. And I'm also interested in how the situation will play out in the coming weeks, months, years.