Yeah…take that, Starbucks! [sob]

September 19th, 2011 · 68 comments

While on vacation in New York City, Christine came across this sad little sign in the window of an indie cafe in the East Village.

Luckily for the shop’s current/future proprietors, this year’s G20 summit is in France. So don’t worry, passively-anti-corporate New Yorkers: soon you’ll almost certainly be free to fret over your Frappuccinos without fear of finding shards of broken glass in your whipped cream.

After 10 years at this location we have lost our lease and are being forced to close this store. We are heartbroken but not broken. It is our understanding that our store has been leased to Starbucks.

related: Remember that the cheese loved you more than you loved it!

related: Raging against the little guy

FILED UNDER: raging against the machine · restaurant · Starbucks

68 responses so far ↓

  • #1   lily

    I honestly don’t see much PA in that note at all.

    Sep 19, 2011 at 10:17 pm   rating: 22  small thumbs up

    • #1.1   JerryB

      There’s not much PA in the vast majority of her posts – - if you wanna stick to the real (not common) definition. This one comes closer than most, though ~

      Sep 19, 2011 at 10:26 pm   rating: 5  small thumbs up

    • #1.2   Ash

      Yeah. I don’t get it. It’s kind of sad. I guess they’re p-ssy about Starbucks taking over their spot, but I would be, too. The commentary is also lost on me, but it’s late and I’m not thinking so well…

      Sep 19, 2011 at 10:26 pm   rating: 9  small thumbs up

    • #1.3   The Elf

      They had to throw in the bit about Starbucks. That’s the PA part. If they had left it at “heartbroken but not broken” part, it wouldn’t be PA. I’m a little surprised they didn’t have forwarding information on there. If not another location, then at least a webpage to scan for updates about a new location. (I assume “not broken” means that they intend to re-open elsewhere.) To have left it off, but put Starbucks on, implies that the note is really just pissy about Starbucks.

      I understand. The big guy is hard to fight. But being sympathetic doesn’t erase the PA-ness of the note.

      Sep 20, 2011 at 7:42 am   rating: 19  small thumbs up

    • #1.4   Adriana

      What The Elf said. ^

      I see a lot of PA in this note – the mention of Starbucks, but also the “forced to close this store” part. “Forced” really just means the lease wasn’t renewed, which a landlord is completely within his right to do. Imagine your landlord not renewing the lease for your apartment and then leaving a large note in the window: “THIS JERKFACE IS FORCING ME TO MOVE!” He’s not forcing you because you never had any permanent right to be there.

      I think some of you are failing to see the PA because you find the situation pitiable. Trust me, it’s there.

      Sep 20, 2011 at 8:54 am   rating: 18  small thumbs up

  • #2   Paul

    Look at what people are drinking inside the store.

    Sep 19, 2011 at 10:24 pm   rating: 5  small thumbs up

    • #2.1   Jen

      it’s an indie cafe. Starbucks is taking over another well-established coffee shop.

      Sep 19, 2011 at 10:29 pm   rating: 5  small thumbs up

    • #2.2   Bec

      I have to agree with Paul, where I live, no ‘indie’ coffee shop would dare sell anything you drink with a straw, or out of a plastic cup.

      Sep 19, 2011 at 10:42 pm   rating: 15  small thumbs up

    • #2.3   FeRD bang

      Really? They let you carry their china home?

      This is NYC. EVERYTHING here can be had “to go”. (And usually defaults that way whether you’re going or staying.) Everywhere. Unless you have a table at a sit-down.

      We’re busy people. Or so I’m constantly told. (I’m not busy! Perhaps I should be.)

      So, yeah, that means straws and plastic cups (with lids!) and aluminum pans with plastic covers. Doesn’t matter if you’re at Subway or the Russian Tea Room.

      Sep 20, 2011 at 12:18 am   rating: 8  small thumbs up

    • #2.4   Jen

      uhhh, no. one of the indie cafes i frequent on a regular basis gives me iced coffee in cups that look exactly like that.

      Sep 20, 2011 at 9:38 am   rating: 3  small thumbs up

    • #2.5   bookworm

      The indie cafes I go to give paper cups, not plastic, unless the drink is supposed to be cold.

      Sep 20, 2011 at 5:36 pm   rating: 0  small thumbs up

  • #3   courtney

    I agree – not PA, just very sad.

    Sep 19, 2011 at 10:24 pm   rating: 9  small thumbs up

  • #4   Jen

    when I first read this I thought it was implying they aren’t broken because hey, at least they’re getting a Starbucks! but then I realized likely those were two separate thoughts…

    Sep 19, 2011 at 10:27 pm   rating: 7  small thumbs up

  • #5   Jorge Barnes

    We are heartbroken, but not broke.

    Er… Wait, scratch that. We ARE broke. That’s why we lost the lease, haha! HAHAHAHAH HAHAHAHAH *uncontrollable sobbing*

    Sep 19, 2011 at 10:31 pm   rating: 23  small thumbs up

    • #5.1   PJ

      Actually, I have seen good small biz companies being thrown to the side in several malls and strip malls because they do not fit the image of what the new owner company is looking for. Jokes on them, though. Now they cannot fill their crappy retail space.

      Sep 20, 2011 at 9:46 pm   rating: 3  small thumbs up

  • #6   JetJackson

    The only way to deal with this is, upon leaving, to hide things in the air con duct that have a propensity to grow mould and stink.

    Sep 19, 2011 at 10:58 pm   rating: 6  small thumbs up

  • #7   Marcos

    I actually live one block away from this place and they will simply move nextdoor. Boohoo, cut the f-ing drama.

    Sep 19, 2011 at 11:06 pm   rating: 24  small thumbs up

    • #7.1   Melissa R

      They’ll move next door to STARBUCKS?

      Sep 19, 2011 at 11:29 pm   rating: 8  small thumbs up

    • #7.2   FeRD bang

      Marcos’ precision likely equals his compassion. So I would interpret that as an expression of his belief that the business shall survive this setback, and can find some way to carry on elsewhere.

      (And, I do see his point: The fact that they say “closing this store” — rather than “going out of business” or “shutting our doors forever” or “12 experienced baristas available for hire starting next week” — does make it sound more like a business that’s dropping a location… but presumably will still have others.)

      Sep 20, 2011 at 12:58 am   rating: 4  small thumbs up

  • #8   anon nony

    I live around the corner from them, their new location won’t be next door. It’ll be about 6 blocks away. this isn’t in Nolita, its the East Village. And as a long time resident, I’m not surprised a tourist snapped this photo and thought it was PA. its not. There have been a lot of changes in this area for the worse and its not uncommon for a landlord to force you out by raising your rent, oh about 5k-8k higher than it was before.

    Sep 20, 2011 at 1:22 am   rating: 8  small thumbs up

    • #8.1   JetJackson

      You live in one of the largest, most densely populated cities in the world and you are upset about gentrification?

      Sep 20, 2011 at 2:03 am   rating: 28  small thumbs up

    • #8.2   anglophile bang

      I guess it’s time for you to move to a dodgier part of town where you won’t be bothered by tourists and Starbucks, anon nony. You’re losing cred every day you stay there!

      Sep 20, 2011 at 7:45 am   rating: 14  small thumbs up

    • #8.3   GhostWriter bang

      Wouldn’t it be great if a Walmart squeezed into the gyro counter across the street? They could still sell gyros, but they’d come dipped in an impervious transparent sealant, so you could take them with you on the subway. I love that Walmart makes life easier for me.

      Sep 20, 2011 at 9:11 am   rating: 3  small thumbs up

    • #8.4   anon nony

      thats the funny thing the crime rate has gone UP around here in the past few years…. And just because someone can’t afford the same rent that Starbucks can doesn’t make them a failing business. If your local family owned restaurant can’t pay the same rent as TGIFridays does that mean you can’t run your business. Seriously people? By that logic the landlords should just raise everyone’s rent by several thousands, and just lease everything to Duane Reade, Subway, Chasebank, Starbucks and the Olive Garden and be done with it.

      Sep 20, 2011 at 4:38 pm   rating: 4  small thumbs up

    • #8.5   Dr. Chalkwitheringlicktacklefeff

      “just lease everything to Duane Reade, Subway, Chasebank, Starbucks and the Olive Garden and be done with it.”

      That pretty much covers all of the services that most people need on their local high street.

      Sep 20, 2011 at 4:58 pm   rating: 2  small thumbs up

    • #8.6   anon nony

      “That pretty much covers all of the services that most people need on their local high street.”

      This is a large city, we have several of those on our “local high street”s already, thats why everyone is complaining….

      Sep 20, 2011 at 7:34 pm   rating: 4  small thumbs up

    • #8.7   JetJackson

      Well it does make them a failing business. If another business, Starbucks for example, can make more money by operating a more efficient business in that same retail space then economically they are the best utilisation of that space. It’s economics 101.

      Again, New York is the jewel of the capitalist crown… something tells me you are at philisophical odds with the city you live in.

      Sep 20, 2011 at 7:48 pm   rating: 11  small thumbs up

  • #9   Dr. Chalkwitheringlicktacklefeff

    Man, I hate businesses that grow because they’re successful and therefore must be doing something right. I much prefer badly-run businesses that are barely scraping by.

    Sep 20, 2011 at 3:59 am   rating: 23  small thumbs up

    • #9.1   The Elf

      Exactly. I’m not nuts about Starbucks, but clearly their business model is working.

      Sep 20, 2011 at 7:45 am   rating: 10  small thumbs up

    • #9.2   dharawal

      Not in Australia, you’d be hard pressed to find a Starbucks here now, they opened up many many stores with great fanfare and then realised that Australians actually prefer REAL coffee, and almost just as quickly went out of business.

      Sep 20, 2011 at 8:00 am   rating: 11  small thumbs up

    • #9.3   Adriana

      Out of curiosity, what’s the difference between real coffee and fake coffee?

      Sep 20, 2011 at 8:47 am   rating: 6  small thumbs up

    • #9.4   GhostWriter bang

      According to Australia, if it doesn’t begin with a shot or two of espresso, it’s fake coffee.

      Sep 20, 2011 at 9:03 am   rating: 4  small thumbs up

    • #9.5   The Elf

      Starbucks. It’s not Australian for coffee.

      Sep 20, 2011 at 1:51 pm   rating: 5  small thumbs up

    • #9.6   Terry

      Meh, this just proves the old adage true – Australians are really just brain-damaged Brits.

      Sep 20, 2011 at 2:07 pm   rating: 4  small thumbs up

    • #9.7   Dr. Chalkwitheringlicktacklefeff

      I suspect Starbucks’ lack of success in Australia has more to do with Australians’ natural in-built xenophobia than the quality of their coffee. It’s got to at least be a factor in the equation, anyway.

      Sep 20, 2011 at 4:52 pm   rating: 4  small thumbs up

    • #9.8   bookworm

      Real coffee = Arabica. Starbucks roasts are Robusta, and intended to be covered up with milk and syrups.

      Sep 20, 2011 at 5:40 pm   rating: 10  small thumbs up

    • #9.9   Bec

      Yes Starbucks went bankrupt in Australia, we have a history of ‘European’ style coffee shops in Australia so we traditionally like our coffee strong and hot. Milky, icy, creamy drinks are seen more as a treat that you would buy for your kids rather than as an adult drink, I guess that is why Starbucks wasn’t successful. You will only really find Frappe style drinks in big chain stores, not independent coffee shops, well not the good ones anyway. @Dr. Chalkwitheringlicktacklefeff not really sure how this could be interpreted as xenophobic as our traditional coffee shops and coffee drinking history originated mainly from our Greek, Italian, Turkish & Afghan immigrants, perhaps you could pick up a history book in between your trolling activities.

      Sep 20, 2011 at 10:14 pm   rating: 10  small thumbs up

    • #9.10   Bec

      Also anything that comes in Grande size cannot be ‘real coffee’, unless it is made with 10 shots of espresso, otherwise it is just mostly hot water & milk.

      Sep 20, 2011 at 10:22 pm   rating: 3  small thumbs up

    • #9.11   Tori

      Aussies coffee habits shaped by xenophobia?? Ha ha ha. EPIC FAIL.

      Starbucks is disgusting, and it astounds us that you Americans are so in love with it. Ignorant neanderthals.

      Sep 21, 2011 at 5:08 pm   rating: 1  small thumbs up

    • #9.12   kes

      “business model”… suuuure.

      Sep 22, 2011 at 2:24 pm   rating: 0  small thumbs up

    • #9.13   The Elf

      Appealing to the American need for overpriced shit IS a successful business model.

      Sep 22, 2011 at 5:27 pm   rating: 2  small thumbs up

    • #9.14   TinyBallOfLight

      Hey, lay off the Aussie jokes, people! That’s just plain aggressive, forget the passive part.

      And furthermore, I AGREE. Starbucks is shit, absolute shit. You don’t even need to have a sensitive palate to see that.

      It’s not because Starbucks is too milky, sugary, water, etc. It’s because they BURN their beans when roasting, so it tastes like run-off from fighting a forest fire. Disgusting.

      I’m against Starbucks for disgracing the flavor of coffee, regardless of their business model (however greedy).

      AND I’m American.

      Leave the Aussies alone. Good grief.

      Sep 23, 2011 at 1:00 am   rating: 2  small thumbs up

  • #10   GhostWriter bang

    I try Starbucks coffee about once a year, hoping that they’ve finally decided to stop adding vinegar to every cup they serve, but alas, it’s always the same sour cup.

    Sep 20, 2011 at 8:59 am   rating: 7  small thumbs up

    • #10.1   Lizzie

      Yeah I do that too. I tried it again recently and it was worse than I remembered.

      Sep 20, 2011 at 9:19 am   rating: 5  small thumbs up

    • #10.2   The Elf

      Me too. The only way Starbucks coffee is palatable is with the addition of lots of milk and lots of syrup.

      I do like those pumpkin spice lattes, though. .

      Sep 20, 2011 at 10:29 am   rating: 2  small thumbs up

    • #10.3   AuntyBron

      Which is probably why they sell it that way, Elf.

      Sep 20, 2011 at 12:21 pm   rating: 2  small thumbs up

  • #11   Lizzie

    I actually feel kinda bad for the cafe. Yeah, adding the part about Starbucks was a little PA, but I kinda don’t blame them. As for the comment about “real” coffee, I know what you mean. Starbucks coffee tastes like tar. It’s so bitter and no amount of cream or sugar helps. It tastes burnt to me.

    Sep 20, 2011 at 9:14 am   rating: 8  small thumbs up

  • #12   lilmrsmchenry

    How dare that Starbucks lease an available storefront! For shame!

    Sep 20, 2011 at 9:57 am   rating: 6  small thumbs up

  • #13   Terry

    Startbucks serves perfectly serviceable coffee. If you live anywhere there aren’t any cafes, but there’s a Starbucks in a sea of DD and McDonalds, you’ll come to the same conclusion pretty quickly. Their roasting and brewing methods, BTW, are directly derived (some say copied, but whatever) from the people who introduced “real” coffee in the US back when most thought that meant Folgers. Which most of us would still be drinking if it weren’t for people like Alfred Peet, btw.

    Frankly, if this cafe couldn’t hack it and lost their lease, that’s really their fault, isn’t it? It has nothing to do with Starbucks or the fact they’re still opening stores in NYC. If the baristas are any good, they’ll get another gig quickly.

    Grow up. People who complain about Starbucks have no business drinking coffee in the first place.

    Sep 20, 2011 at 2:14 pm   rating: 4  small thumbs up

    • #13.1   The Elf

      There’s something wrong with having a personal preference regarding the flavor of coffee? Dang.

      Sep 20, 2011 at 2:23 pm   rating: 11  small thumbs up

    • #13.2   Dr. Chalkwitheringlicktacklefeff

      Everyone’s got their personal preference, but I have to say that I really can’t taste the difference. Coffee’s coffee. If I’m being really honest, cheap freeze-dried instant coffee tastes pretty much the same as freshly ground posh coffee to me.

      Sep 20, 2011 at 4:55 pm   rating: 2  small thumbs up

    • #13.3   The Elf

      “Mmmm! Goddamn, Jimmie! This is some serious gourmet shit! Usually, me and Vince would be happy with some freeze-dried Taster’s Choice, but he springs this serious GOURMET shit on us! What flavor is this?”

      Sep 21, 2011 at 7:08 am   rating: 5  small thumbs up

    • #13.4   TKD

      Elf, 13.3, BRILLIANT!

      You get multiple thumbs for that one. Keep that shit up and I just may fall in love. ;-)

      Sep 21, 2011 at 11:24 am   rating: 1  small thumbs up

    • #13.5   TinyBallOfLight

      “Grow up. People who complain about Starbucks have no business drinking coffee in the first place.”


      Um…what The Elf said. Personal preference in coffee and deciding that you don’t care for Starbucks in now way implies that you are ignorant in the ways of coffee. In fact, quite the opposite. Statements like that just rankle.

      Oh, and btw, The Coffee Bean > Starbucks.

      It was the original and it is far superior. They have a much better business model, better products and customer service. The only thing they don’t have is an infectious-like amount of locations everywhere you look. Which, honestly, is refreshing. Cheers!

      Sep 23, 2011 at 1:13 am   rating: 0  small thumbs up

  • #14   Nahhh bang

    I’d tell you about my favorite coffee, but I’m sure most of you have never heard of it.

    Sep 20, 2011 at 4:30 pm   rating: 6  small thumbs up

    • #14.1   Dr. Chalkwitheringlicktacklefeff


      Sep 20, 2011 at 4:56 pm   rating: 6  small thumbs up

  • #15   new yorkuh

    Haha, I walked by this place the other day. They actually have multiple signs printed out and taped all over their windows. I think one of the signs is actually GIGANTIC.

    The best part (as someone else has already stated) is that they are simply moving across the street.

    Sep 20, 2011 at 10:09 pm   rating: 4  small thumbs up

  • #16   alex

    Well, they’re not only pissed because it got re-leased to a Starbucks, but they found out by a Starbucks contractor who came in and started measuring the space…

    Sep 21, 2011 at 10:01 am   rating: 1  small thumbs up

    • #16.1   The Elf

      Being pissed is not passive-aggressive. That’s normal, especially finding out that way. I am sympathetic to them, really. But that note, though? THAT is passive-aggressive! It makes them sound like a bunch of whiny babies, too.

      Sep 22, 2011 at 7:51 am   rating: 1  small thumbs up

    • #16.2   anglophile bang

      No matter how many times you try to explain it, there are some people who will never get it, Elf.

      Sep 22, 2011 at 2:35 pm   rating: 2  small thumbs up

  • #17   Amy in Toronto

    From what I recall, Australia has an abundance of coffee shops that serve the most beautifully rich, full-bodied Italian coffee that is far superior to the burnt-tasting, too-expensive, have-to-learn-how-to-speak-Starbuckese-before-one-can-have-a-simple-cuppa beverage from Starbucks.

    Sep 21, 2011 at 10:08 am   rating: 5  small thumbs up

    • #17.1   TinyBallOfLight

      You’re so right. I absolutely loathe Starbucks. The few times I’ve been (because of meeting with friends, wasn’t my choice, etc.) I deliberately ordered a “small” or “medium” size. They always get this annoyed look on their face, and have even said “oh, you mean grande?” And just to irritate them further, I say “um, I have no idea what you’re talking about, can I just get a 16 oz medium size? thanks.” Ha!!

      Sep 23, 2011 at 1:10 am   rating: 1  small thumbs up

    • #17.2   tvelociraptor

      I don’t think that purposely antagonizing people who are working for minimum wage at a shitty job makes you as superior as you think it does, tinyballoflight.

      Sep 24, 2011 at 9:46 am   rating: 4  small thumbs up

    • #17.3   bookworm

      That’s funny. When I go to Starbucks and order by oz instead of their silly naming system, they usually understand what I mean. I guess leaving my snotty attitude at the door works wonders! Something for TinyBallOfLight to keep in mind.

      Sep 24, 2011 at 2:09 pm   rating: 2  small thumbs up

    • #17.4   TinyBallOfLight

      I apologize if I offended anyone. I guess I should have mentioned that 90% of the baristas I have encountered at Starbucks have a snotty attitude before I even speak a word to them. So, I get sucked in to their behavior. I guess I shouldn’t have said it that way.

      What I meant, is that it’s amusing to me to defy a huge corporation’s “system” in my own small way — as a result of rude baristas and sub-standard, over-priced products. As I said before, my Starbucks is never my first choice, and the time I have gone, it was because the majority of the group chose it. But, I suppose I could have just had nothing. I know, my choice.

      Also, I have 2 years of barista experience myself (including management). I almost always managed to uphold very good, polite customer service to everyone who came in. Except in a few extreme situations with insanely rude customers. But, even then, I was able to serve them outwardly politely. So, I don’t have much patience for rudeness coming from a job that touts “customer service with a smile.”

      But, I realize that I phrased my above comments poorly, so for that I apologize.

      Sep 24, 2011 at 3:22 pm   rating: 1  small thumbs up

    • #17.5   mackoff

      I go into starbucks once in a while (usually for teas) and they have always always always been polite…sometimes to the point where it astonishes me. And often in NYC you’re hard pressed to find a cashier who gives a s***.

      Oct 27, 2011 at 4:14 pm   rating: 0  small thumbs up

  • #18   Lurker

    I have to say that Starbucks seemed to prefer destroying it’s competition to actually competing in the one case I’m aware of. Rather than open up in readily available retail space nearby in Toronto, Cnada, they chose to talk to the landlord and offer a whack of cash, so long as the landlord didn’t ask the current coffee shop to meet the same price – the first the locally owned shop knew was when they were refused the opportunity to renew their lease.

    Happily in this case the neighbourhood (university crowd) rebelled and made such a stink Starbucks knew they’d never live it down, so the landlord relented.

    Sep 25, 2011 at 1:06 am   rating: 2  small thumbs up

  • #19   rc

    this location is “The Bean”. located on first avenue and 4th st.

    this month this “indie” chain opened a location on broadway and 13th st, and is preparing to open a location on 2nd ave and 5th st in a few months, and 1 more somewhere else. in total there will be at least 3 new “The Bean” locations in the future.

    Sep 27, 2011 at 8:12 pm   rating: 0  small thumbs up


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