Sure sign of suburbia |

Sure sign of suburbia

Vail Daily Editorial Board
Vail CO, Colorado

We at the Daily freely admit a preference for independent coffeehouses such as Loaded Joe’s and Zack’s Mountain Deli over the friendly franchise variety.

The atmosphere is warm, the earnings stay in town, customers are more likely to actually know the owner, and the coffee’s good.

But if Starbucks wants to open a shop in Eagle Ranch, and Eagle Ranch residents want the omnipresent coffee stand, well, there you go.

In any case a Starbucks will open soon near Eagle Ranch’s movie theater. Obviously, they see an opportunity.

Now we’ll see what the customers prefer between the local coffeehouse in the same neighborhood and the Seattle corporation.

The question will be settled, at least in Eagle Ranch, the old-fashioned way. Head to head, customers voting with their wallets.

Like it or not, corporate franchises work. Alas, they are the next evolutionary step up in retail. This ladder rises (or descends) to the infernal big box, despised but then chosen in the marketplace with our hard-earned currency.

Price and selection trump service and warm smiles. In food, add knowing what you’ll get across from coffeehouses, fast-foot and restaurants chains.

We claim to miss the charm of our smalltown mom-and-pops. But every cup of joe we line up for at Starbucks, every visit to Wal-Mart puts the lie to that.

Zack’s will have to win their battle with Starbuck’s with better offerings at better prices. That tug at the heartstrings may help in the margins, but the difference will be in how well they compete.

It may even be that the two can co-exist. In any case, welcome, Eagle Ranch to suburbia.

” Don Rogers for the Editorial Board

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