Starbucks To Teach Lucy's
Not Just About Punctuation
Southside () - Thanks to economies of scale and an open corner near UAB, premium coffee merchandiser Starbucks has decided that a new location is needed three blocks from their current Five Points store. This location, which happens to be next
door to locally owned Lucy's Coffee and Tea, is not expected to be a big money-maker for the chain, but rather offer some lessons for smaller coffee retailers struggling to survive.
"There is no point being small," said Starbucks spokesman Gerald Thrash. "Where are the efficiencies? How can you expect to please a customer when it takes
a different amount of time every day to serve up their coffee?" Starbucks prides itself on consistency and timely delivery of coffee beverages no matter how complex the requirements. "Lucy's could learn something from us and be a better business,"
said Thrash. "All of that cumbersome mismatched furniture, and the IOU tote board, it just seems wasteful." ONB President Michael Calvert believes that these intangible qualities will actually be a benefit to Lucy's when Starbucks moves in next door. "Coffee drinkers will now have more choices," said Calvert. "That will only increase foot traffic in the area which can't possibly hurt local retailers."
Patrons at Lucy's were a bit hesitant to embrace the idea that Starbucks represents an actual good. "I don't think I would enjoy a four dollar cup of charred swill in a corporate-antiseptic environment masquerading as a friendly place, as much as I enjoy being at Lucy's in an actual comfortable environment," said UAB doctor Janice Bevens. "Besides, Starbucks won't have Lucy." Other's concur with that assessment. "I don't know what it is about Lucy, but I just feel good when I'm there," said SRI scientist James Hardy. "It takes my mind off of the bunny killing."
Thrash argued that although Starbucks would not have the actual Lucy, they have been able to create an amalgam of traits similar to hers through careful hiring and training practices. "Our barristas know to smile and sometimes even chat with a customer if it is not too busy. Plus they are all easy to identify in their clean snappy uniforms." When asked if Starbucks would leave once the training of their smaller rival is complete, Thrash was non-committal. "There are a lot of coffee drinkers around UAB hospital, we'll just see who is most efficient at serving them."
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