portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article announcements portland metro

community building | corporate dominance | neighborhood news | sustainability stop starbucks

The STARBUCKS STOPS HERE

Everyone show up this Sunday at 1:45pm to rally against Starbucks establishing a chain store at SE 20th and Division. Bring a sign, wear yellow! Rally at Mirador at SE 20th and Division. Questions: www.nostarbucksin7corners.org
Q & A REGARDING THE PROPOSED STARBUCKS IN 7 CORNERS:

Q: It seems like a Starbucks will generate sales; isn't that good for our economy?
A: Actually, studies have shown that chain stores don't generate new sales, they simply shift economic activity from one part of town to another. Also, because Starbucks is a multinational corporation, their number one goal is to make as big a profit as possible. That means aggressively eliminating any local cafes so that Starbucks is the only option when you want a cup of coffee. When this happens, the community is the big loser, we lose our cafes, along with the tax revenue and jobs they provide.

Being a multinational corporation also means that Starbucks channels its profits back to the national level where purchasing and advertising business is conducted. Local cafes keep their profits circulating in the local economy by doing business with other independent businesses for such tasks as construction, transportation, advertising, banking, etc.

Q: But all they sell is coffee, what's wrong with that?
A: "Meeting for coffee" is a safe and friendly social practice that builds community, especially here in the Northwest. However, Starbucks is a "formula store" meaning they all look the same, sapping communities of their individuality. In today's market communities with character and local culture are more likely to attract customers.

Unfortunately, selling coffee is not simple when almost all those beans are coming from Third World farmers who depend on coffee sales to scrape by. Coffee prices are at an all time low, hovering around $.50 with no increase in sight. This means that farmers are becoming even more impoverished, going further into debt and losing their land. Meanwhile coffee companies such as Starbucks have not lowered consumer prices but are pocketing the difference. Specific to the proposed 7 Corners location, within 5 blocks 3 different shops sell organic fair trade coffee at a lower price than Starbucks (who only offers1% of their coffee as fair trade and its available in bags only).

Q: Why protest a Starbucks, aren't they a good corporate citizen?
A: Catch phrases like "being a good corporate citizen" or "prioritizing the customer" are all part of the most recent corporate strategy to maximize profits. These PR moves distract the customer away from the fact that Starbucks is siphoning money from the local economy and directing it toward national corporate offices.

An absentee-owned corporation is never a replacement for local ownership by people who tend to have a far greater concern for the welfare and long-term vitality of our neighborhoods.

homepage: homepage: http://www.nostarbucksin7corners.org

. 26.Feb.2004 22:20

.

there is no such thing as a corporate citizen - a corporation is not a citizen, not a person

Coffee for thought 26.Feb.2004 23:05

Ben

1.I would think the neighborhood property/house owners would /should have the most say.
2. Starbucks is a damn chain but at least its a quality chain. Its alot better than a McDs or Krispy Kreme or worse. In that regard Starbucks can be good for the neighborhood in raising the level in quality, attracting more and better quality retailers which are usually local owned like NW 23 or Hawthorne.

we dont need more of them 26.Feb.2004 23:38

gb

Ben,
The thing is, there's no shortage of them already. On the contrary, there's 150 starbucks in the region. There's one just blocks away on Hawthorne. What we really need to promote is local businesses, that won't drive up rents and put undue pressure on local, affordable housing and other businesses. This is not a question of enhancing "consumer choice." That choice already exists. Rather, this is a question of PRESERVING consumer choice, because there won't be choices if the rents go sky high and small independent establishments without deep pockets lose their spaces, as has happened to such tragic effect in places like San Francisco, where myriad small bookstores, legitimate theaters, and other cultural institutions have been driven out. Indeed, much of the cultural life of that city was gutted by the "dot com" boom and its accompanying gentrification.

The threat is real. This starbucks is paying 3-4 times the rent of some nearby businesses, and easily 3 times the previous fair market value. This is already exerting an upward pressure on rents in the area.

The voice associated with starbucks 7 corners debut 26.Feb.2004 23:45

zenith

truth or gossip...the starbucks lease is already signed...their arrival a done deal?....Does the H.A.N.D. organization/residents choose to actively determine what their neighborhood looks like in the future, or will it/they choose to play into developer and corporation hands and sit passively, allowing the market to put into their plate whatever it decides in its hopefully benevolent dictator fasion? A lot of current resident children will be growing up in what they allow to occur in this neighborhood.

starbucks and the pdx police club 27.Feb.2004 03:03

...

I think one of the most important things to know and remember here, in addition to raping the thirld world farmers of their due benefit, starbucks also donated to the police club, right here in Portland. Mcdonalds does, too. So starbucks is not only driving the war against people abroad, by supporting street thugs here in our fair city, starbucks is driving the war at home. And who the hell knows what a company like that would put in their coffee?? They are not just a neutral company, minding it's own business, they have an AGENDA, and customer and/or citizen satisfaction is not it.....

I need to disagree, look at North Mississippi Ave ? 27.Feb.2004 08:40

Memeber of the Mississippi Coop Haus

gb
"local businesses, that won't drive up rents and put undue pressure on local, affordable housing and other businesses"

Yes I think that's what the caring,white, young upwardly professional and college students being lead by PDC's supposedly caring neighborhood coordinator thought ? Now look 2 years later at the 5 block street and surrounding area of North Mississippi Ave. Rents are doubling, North Portland Bikeworks who was paying $600 is now being asked to pay $1200. Sure, all the NEW businesses are small, local & for some strange reason white, but what has that done for the community that a chain store would not have done . It's pushed up rent's,house prices. we cooperatively bought our house with the help of Portland Collective Housing for $180,000 in 2003, in 1997 it was bought for $97,000, we got a deal compared to housing prices now . Why did we decide to buy. After the ,now owners of the Purple Parlor vegetarian restaurant came to look at our home, being introduced as bankers coming to inspect for a re financing deal, when they were actually look for a home for there environmentally ,community caring restaurant ?, we realized that if we didn't get our shit together we would loose our housing for 9 low income/no income people, 5 cats and a dog, probably to be replaced by some community caring, couple with there idea for a new local business that would promote diversity in the quickly whitening,non diverse community, with the help from a bank loan made easily available to the college educated professional with a bit of help from the folks from the big house in the suburbs . We watched as our neighbors and freinds were pushed out through rising taxes,rising rents,landlords wanting to make the most of 12 % and rising house prices and community board pressure to have the police clean up the neighborhood through,threats , intimidation and in some cases (Kendra James) even murder .
I miss my freinds and community that was on the Lower east Side, that was in Greenpoint,Brooklyn and now on North Mississippi Ave,Portland . In each case the community supported any new small,local business that took the chance to open, because it was helping the neighborhood, but of course it was mostly helping those that had investements in the community .
Not really sure where I am going with this, I am feeling very frustrated and confused ......Peace

gentrification is fucked, whether it's local or foreign 27.Feb.2004 10:17

tenant/owner at 25th coop house

Personally, I don't give much of a fuck about "local" businesses moving into the Ladd Meat building. New Seasons is a great example of a predatory "local" buisness, moving in a block away. If it ain't worker owned, it will not serve the community. If the Starbucks goes in, they will likely pull out quickly due to the inevitable decentralized resistance from the local residents. If a "locally owned" capitalist corporation were to take the space instead, the resistance would certainly be mitigated due to a lack of class consciousness among the whip-kissing hipsters who are already living in the area. This is why anticapitalists should be more careful in who they chose to associate with. Just because someone is poor doesn't mean they sympathize with the plight of the working class, maybe they're just lazy and waiting for a job in management.

Either way, the renters in the area are screwed because property values will rise and push them out in favor of yuppies who want to buy thier "cool" off the shelf instead of making it themselves. I'm pretty disheartened myself, and having a hard time balancing my love of bricks and baseball bats with my non violent and anti property destruction principles.

Response to Co-op owner/residents 27.Feb.2004 11:26

No Starbucks in 7 Corners campaigner

thanks for adding your experiences and ideas to this discussion. the New Seasons example is especially appreciated, and i agree with you.

the main thing i've (re)discovered with this situation is how little say/control we have about what happens to the places we live in this capitalist system. in most cases we can do nothing about the forces that could change our lives, regardless of whether the agent is a nat'l corporation or a local business. it really sucks.

the "leap for localization" event might go too far in rallying for local businesses for the sake of being local without recognizing the factors you both bring up. but at the event itself there will be other good perspectives, including the presentation of alternative visions for the area that have already been created by area residents, and critiques of Starbucks itself that would also apply to other businesses/coffee shops.

anyway, thanks, and we can talk more about this off-line!

Earth to Coffee Farmers: 27.Feb.2004 14:06

James

"Coffee prices are at an all time low, hovering around $.50 with no increase in sight."

Coffee farmers? This is Mr. Obvious calling. There are too many of you. It's time to consider a new crop. If you can't make a living growing a certain crop, you don't need government support, or "fair trade." You need to stop growing that crop.

And there are too bloody many Starbucks, as well. It's time to stop patronizing them.

simplistic argument, james 27.Feb.2004 15:48

mr. coffee

suggesting that coffee farmers should bite the bullet when overproduction forces prices down is no different than telling laid off workers to shut up and find another job. the capitalist meat grinder will have its turn with each of us. overproduction of coffee is no accident, but a carefully orchestrated plan by the IMF/World Bank to crash the market by forcing up production in Vietnam (now the second largest producer). No invisible hand of the market here, just one big middle finger. Starbucks, Folgers, and Nestle have made bank on record low green prices and growers in coffee regions have no other realistic options aside from producing other export crops and risk getting into the exact same situation a year from now with bananas or tea or avocados. the growers are victims just like the rest of the working class.

start where people are at now 27.Feb.2004 16:29

gb

It's true: unregulated capitalist land ownership allows the highest bidder to set the price of real estate without input from the community. Of course, the deeper the bidder's pockets, the worse the results will be for renters. Most of the solutions that people have offered are partial: favoring local businesses, rent control, etc. The real solution is to set up community land trusts, and to fund them with taxes on speculative real estate transactions and Georgist-style split rate property taxes.

However, rather than throwing one's hands up in despair, why not join in this conversation? Come on down to the Leap for Localization! Let's educate people on these issues. You have to start with where people are at now. They may not fully understand how gentrification works in detail, but we can reach them at the level of supporting localism and opposing homogenization of our neighborhoods and loss of neighborhood character. These concerns are complementary to and certainly not antithetical to the larger issue of gentrification.