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Coffee Wars – Couldn’t Be More Proud!

In late February, Starbucks closed its doors at each of its nearly 7,100 U.S. stores for three and a half hours for an in-store education and training session for their baristas. Dunkin Donuts, Coffee Beanery and others jumped at the chance to invite thirsty, and now misplaced, Starbucks customers into their shops by offering specials and discounted coffee beverages throughout the day. Biggby Coffee, the Michigan specialty coffee chain formerly know as Beaners, even offered free beverages during this time.

The press that Starbucks, other coffee shops and the industry received was immeasurable. The amount of articles covering the Starbucks plan was truly shocking. Press coverage began before the “in-store” closures started, continued throughout the closing and extended till days after. The company was lauded in much of the media for their actions and was also scolded for inconveniencing their customers.

Local and national newspapers, radios and television news reported that Starbucks coffee lovers were deprived of their caffeine fix for an agonizing three-plus hours. Agonizing they called it! Isn’t this what we always wanted - the public to love and crave this beverage. The deprivation of Starbucks Coffee for a short period of time and the backlash it created only confirms the stable place the beverage has in the marketplace. Some people claimed it was a marketing stunt, but does it matter? It was an advantage for the entire industry.

For the days surrounding the “Starbucks event,” coffee was in the air. My 18 year-old daughter and her friends went to Dunkin Donuts to take advantage of the specially discounted price of their favorite latte. People were talking all around me in New York: “inconvenience; good thing for the company to do; looking forward to see a change.”

And that’s the beautiful thing about Starbucks; they never fail at bringing coffee into the spotlight.

Jane McCabe
Editor & Co-Publisher



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Tea & Coffee - March, 2008

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