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The Independent Coffee Shop vs. Starbucks Debate


By educating consumers about decent coffee, Starbucks made it possible for independent coffee shops to gain a foothold in communities across America. That’s one thesis in Bryant Simon’s new book, Everything but the Coffee: Learning about America from Starbucks, which is due in stores October 9. It’s sure to spark debate because it argues the idea that chains crush independent stores is partially wrong.

Reuters published a good piece, Is Starbucks Really a Small Business Killer? about the book today. We tackled the indies vs. Starbucks debate last summer, in this story, Vying with Starbucks: A Love-Hate Thing, and slide show, Independent Coffee Shops Speak Up, when Starbucks announced it was closing 600 stores.

It’s a debate that obviously extends outside the coffee shop as well, with convincing arguments and counterarguments regularly cropping up in books like Big Box-Swindle: The True Cost of Mega-Retailers and the Fight for America’s Independent Businesses and Retail Superstars: Inside the 25 Best Independent Stores in America.


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