A “Grande” Development

Noelle Gomez, Staff Writer

The proposal of a Starbucks coming to Stoughton has been talked about for years. Now, it’s actually a reality! The location is the Pick ‘n Save parking lot, in the building of Old National Bank, which is now closed down. Renovations to the building could start as early as May, and is expected to employ 15 full-time employees, according to Mackenzie Krumme of the Unified Newspaper Group.

Other coffee businesses feel different emotions about such a large company coming to our small town.

Pete and Katie Herbst, owners of Autumn Pearl, see Starbucks as a good addition to Stoughton.

In an email with the Herbsts, they wrote, “Starbucks is a big company that will do well if they come to Stoughton. They have advantages in marketing, financial resources, a drive-thru, extended hours and other things that we can’t match. However, there is also plenty of business to go around. We […] appreciate the loyalty of our current customers, but that doesn’t mean they can’t go to other coffee shops. If we end up affected in any way, we will need to adapt and become better or offer other products.”

Phil Harrison and Morgan Elliot, owners of Rise & Grind Coffee, LLC, also shared a response, as their business is in the Pick ‘n Save parking lot, right where the new Starbucks is going to be. 

Harrison and Elliot wrote in an email, “While we are not personally fans of Starbucks, we are fans of a free market economy. […] Our biggest emotion involving the announcement of the Starbucks proposal was frustration […] that the city is not able to prevent a large corporation from coming into town, as it should be, but the administration of the city was in the process of enacting legislation that would impede our business. These legislation discussions are ongoing. We believe that if we are allowed to remain in our location, we will benefit from overflow traffic and people who intended to go to Starbucks but decided to try somewhere local instead when they see our presence.”

Ryan Baughn, owner of Wildwood Cafe, also shares his thoughts.

In a phone interview, Baughn said, “[Starbucks] creates a culture and an expectation […] for this whole thing: of going into a place, buying a cup of coffee […] and hanging out there. […] And so many times, the small independent cafe in town can do that in a more connected, more unique and maybe even better way. So a lot of times […] overall growth is increased as a result of a larger company coming into town.”

“I think Starbucks appeals to a certain segment of population–they offer consistency, they offer pretty wide hours and a comfortable place to hang out in. But I think of all the people coming and looking for that kind of thing, you can find that done better just down the street. I think Starbucks, just because of their size, has a harder time maintaining loyalty, [whereas the] independent business has a much more direct line from owner to operator to customer and consumer,” Baughn adds.

In terms of the future, all three businesses are hopeful.

“Healthy competition breeds higher quality products and better customer service to retain your customer base,” Harrison and Elliot wrote in their email. “We [will] continue operating in the same fashion we have since opening and do our best to provide the best products and service as we possibly can for our customers.”

The Herbsts wish to speak to you, the reader, directly.

They wrote, “If you’d rather go to Starbucks over Autumn Pearl, or if your favorite beverage is at Starbucks and not Autumn Pearl, we personally want to hear from you!”