by Kevin Allman
As you've probably heard, Starbucks is planning to close beaucoup U.S. locations by next year (600, to be accurate), though the company has been tight-lipped about which ones will get the axe. The java-anxiety has spawned rumors, blogs, and now a Web feature by the Seattle Times, which is plotting the supposed closings on an interactive Google map.
New Orleans, of course, has never been as Starbucks-saturated as most other major cities. When it comes to coffee, we've been ahead of the "support your local business" curve for, well, decades. According to the Web site Starbucks Everywhere, we only have a few dozen Starbucks in the metro area. (In L.A. or Seattle, of course, there seem to be a few dozen per person.)
Interestingly, the Times' Google map doesn't show any closings in Louisiana.
I'm mixed on Starbucks. I hate the way they try to muscle out the local guys; I like the fact that they offer health insurance...something that many of the "buy local, support local" coffeehouses don't do. I hate the fact that many of their stores charge for WiFi; I like the fact that they finally dumped their signature Burned-to-Hell French roast for something more palatable.
Are you? Would you miss Starbucks if the few outlets in New Orleans went the way of K&B?