Thursday, July 30, 2009

Starbuck's - Location, Location, Location

Starbuck’s is a late 20th-century phenomenom still going strong in 2009. Part coffee bar, part social club, and part diversion, Williamsburg now has at least a half dozen locations of this universal franchise. Since the appeal of Starbucks is its consistency of products, what difference does location make? In Williamsburg, incredible differences in demographics, service, and overall atmosphere can be found. For the record, I drink iced green tea with an occasional hot chocolate in the winter. I am not really qualified to understand the motivations of the coffee fiend…but I do enjoy observing them.

The Monticello Avenue Starbucks is located in the “new” part of town…the suburbs really. Williamburg’s power crowd can be found in the long line on any given morning—from soccer moms to contractors to young professionals. Ironically, this Starbucks has the smallest square footage of all the stores which may contribute to the feel of its high energy. In contrast, the Starbuck’s at the Kingsmill strip mall on Route 60 has a cavernous location that contributes to a very gloomy environment. It also has an interesting assortment of regulars..locals who take up residence in the overstuffed chairs throughout the day. Some are very chatty and will bend your ear while others are buried deep in newspapers. A new Starbuck's located near Mooretown Road has a drive thru. This is the most convenient location of I64/Route 199 travelers. Seems to draw a lot of introverted computer users/book readers. My personal choice is the strange Starbuck's outpost in the Farm Fresh on Merrimac Trail.

What Williamsburg needs is a Starbucks within the newly renovated Williamsburg Lodge, owned and operated by Colonial Williamsburg. Most conference goers expect a convenient access for their caffeine fix when traveling in strange cities. A Starbucks in the Lodge location would benefit the entire Colonial Williamsburg organization as well. The chance of this happening?? ZERO!

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