Archive for September 28th, 2008

The Vanishing Shops

Vanishing Myth

Vanishing Identity?

A month ago, I could walk to any one of three Starbucks coffee shops within a 10-block radius of my house. Now, there is only one; the other two, just blank facades that still bore faint traces of the all-too-familiar logo.  This is part of the Seattle-based company’s decision to close 5% of its US Stores to help “boost the bottom line and its stock price.”

In a city like Portland, these closures will not likely be any hardship at all, what with the ubiquity of coffee shops from a variety of roasters seeming to mirror that of microbreweries.  But the two-tailed mermaid has been such a part of the Pacific Northwest’s identity that their disappearance — gradual or otherwise — would be felt.  One used to be able to say that, in the Pacific Northwest, there was a Starbucks “on every corner.”  That would not be true these days; at least, not in my neighborhood.

I enjoy other roasts — Stumptown, being another one I enjoy most — but Starbucks has been such a part of my own identity.  There was a time when you wouldn’t see me walking into work without a Starbucks cup in hand.  It became such a routine for me.  And even when I lived in PR, where the nearest Starbucks coffee shop was a twenty-minute walk from my condo, nothing would stop me from imbibing those tasty drinks.  (And, in PR, the drinks were “iced,” of course.)

Alas, there is nothing I can do with these changing times except to adapt.  At least there is still this one Starbucks location near my place that is very accessible.  And, since its location allows for mucho traffic, I don’t see them closing it any time soon.


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