Starbucks and Coffee Culture
“Coffee culture” – the art of enjoying coffee in a relaxing atmosphere – is not a new phenomenon. In Europe, slowing down and socializing over coffee at a local coffee shop is an age-old tradition. In the United States, large cities that are influenced by European immigrants have become hotspots of coffee culture, as have college towns and resorts like the Berkshires. Thanks to corporate chains like Starbucks, coffee has become a popular beverage in all parts of the country. Yet in many American suburbs, coffee remains something people drink on the go while driving to work, not in coffeehouses. Independently owned local coffee shops are working to change that. These family owned businesses offer an increasingly popular alternative to corporate coffee chains. Yet some supporters of coffee culture have worried that the rapid expansion of corporate chains like Starbucks could put independent coffee shops out of business. However, small independent coffeehouses have adapted and developed ways to compete with Starbucks. In fact, large national business chains have had a positive impact on independent vendors.
Without national chains such as Starbucks, the coffee culture might not exist in many places. Although coffee shops would remain popular in large cities, where European cultural influences are dominant, without Starbucks, the people of small towns and suburbs might have no interest in coffee whatsoever, which would make it very difficult for a coffeehouse from such a locality to stay in business. According to Lee Cohan, “Starbucks has the power to introduce people to coffee.” Cohan is the owner of The Daily Grind coffeehouses, located in Albany and in Troy. Many coffee lovers have expressed concerns that the expansion of chains such as Starbucks could put small coffee businesses out of business. But according to Cohan, his coffee shops could hardly exist without Starbucks. Cohan believes that Starbucks has greatly...
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