Starbucks is officially set to open a new shop below Sea Gull Square sometime between Sept. 19-27.
While the new move will be convenient for caffeine-loving students, the franchise could potentially be a threat to the city’s local businesses such as Zeppole Cafe, Pemberton Coffeehouse and Common Grounds, all of which are located within five miles of SU’s campus.
According to the U. S. Small Business Administration, over 50 percent of small businesses fail within the first five years, often due to competition with larger corporations.
Yet the smaller shops in the Salisbury area say they are not worried.
Common Grounds manager Tri Townsend said he does not expect the new opening to dramatically affect his shop’s business. He said that although there was a slight drop-off in sales when SU students left for the summer, the majority of the business’ revenue comes from the city as a whole.
Austin Zduriencik and Erin Failaev, managers of Zeppole and Pemberton, respectively, both said they believe another Starbucks would be a positive addition to the community.
“It’s always good to have coffee,” Failaev said. “So all the power to them … Salisbury’s a big town, so I don’t think it will have too much impact (on Pemberton.)”
Zduriencik predicted the new business will be more likely to take away business from the Cool Beans Cafe, because both shops would be competing on campus. However, SU Satellite Dining Retail Manager Bill Allen said he is not overly concerned
about the new competition.
“The truth is, college students aren’t huge coffee drinkers,” Allen said, noting that the most popular drinks at Cool Beans are its smoothies. “There may be an impact, but competition is not new. We’ve always had it.”
Allen added that Cool Beans’ coffee, which is advertised as the Starbucks brand, is sold significantly more cheaply than the original franchises’. In addition, students can pay for the drinks with pre-paid Dining Dollars.
In a poll of 50 SU students, 31 said they would prefer Cool Beans. Seventeen said they would prefer Starbucks, and only two said they plan to travel off campus this semester for their caffeine fix.
The students polled live both on and off campus, and ranged from sophomore to senior status. Casual and non-scientific, the poll was conducted through Facebook over the summer.
Sophomore Tom Serbert said he would probably continue going to Cool Beans for the variety of merchandise.
“They have plenty of options, and I love a lot of their stuff,” he said, adding that the cafe’s white chocolate mochas are his “drink of choice.”
Senior Bridget Willey said that she would likely go to Starbucks more often because, as a Sea Gull Square resident, the new shop would be closer.
“It will be more convenient in the evenings if I want a smoothie,” Willey said. “But I’ll still go to Cool Beans every once in a while.”
Rinnier Development Company said the shop plans to open as soon as possible, but was unable to confirm its hours of operation. For updates, visit “Sea Gull Square Retail” on Facebook.
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