Taking On Starbucks

Thursday, September 15, 2011 - 12:53pm

New York coffee shop that's losing its building to Starbucks vows to fight the java giant.

At "The Bean" in New York City's East Village the iced coffees and frothy cappuccinos usually provide the jolt, but a few weeks ago it came from someone who looked like a customer but was holding plans.

"I asked him what he was doing, and he said 'This for the proposed renovations'. I asked him for what. He said 'For the Starbucks'. And then I kicked him out," says Bean manager Guy Puglia.

For nearly a decade The Bean has made coffee and made friends on the corner of East 3rd and 1st Avenue, but that's about to change.

Starbucks got the lease for their space and is forcing the locally owned shop to grab their beans and brew elsewhere.

"I'll tell you the truth, maybe I'm naive but I found it very disappointing," says Bean co-owner Ike Escava. "I believe people do the right thing, and I do the right thing, and this doesn't feel right."

The Bean's owners, who had a month-to-month lease, aren't the only ones unhappy.

"I'm really sad to hear that. It's one of my favorite places to come," says customer Sarah Hirsch.

"When you get Starbucks on every corner you lose the flavor and authenticity of a neighborhood," adds Patrick Fox.

The Bean may be down, but they're not out.

They're taking on the coffee goliath by opening up one block down 2nd Avenue.

The battle lines have been drawn.

"We're sure we're not going to keep every single customer, but there is enough business for us to make a living here and that's all we're trying to do now and we think we have a good shot," says co-owner Sammy Cohen.


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