Starbucks Prospers in Blue-Collar Location

Jun 26, 2002

Following last weekend’s grand opening and a successful test run since June 8, Starbucks is already turning a profit and has attracted a loyal following in the blue-collar city of San Fernando, Calif., reports the Los Angeles Daily News.

The coffee chain has traditionally opened in higher-profile locations, such as along Ventura Boulevard, and business- or pedestrian-heavy centers, such as within Barnes & Noble bookstores. In contrast, the San Fernando store operates in a strip mall with an armed forces recruiting center and an El Pollo Loco as neighbors. The chain has found increasing success in communities such as San Fernando, store manager Leeann Mesa says.

In addition to providing 23 new jobs, most with full benefits, San Fernando’s community development director, Paul Deibel, says the store helps polish San Fernando’s image as it works to make a name for itself. “The city’s trying to convey that there’s a strong demand for upscale services and products that are available elsewhere,” Mr. Deibel says adding that economic development becomes a little easier as the city can hitch itself to Starbucks’ prestige. “Starbucks showed foresight in identifying that and taking advantage of the demand.”

Moderator Comment: Are retailers and CPG companies
letting demographic assumptions get in the way of business growth?

Obviously, Starbucks is not. Last we heard, the Harlem
(N.Y.) location continues to do a big business. [George
Anderson – Moderator

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