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The Starbuck’s Star is Fading

Starbucks logoI was watching “The Universe” on NOVA last night and they uncovered what was at the heart of our galaxy. Not surprisingly, it is another Starbucks. Starbucks, the master of experiential marketing, seems to be a one trick pony – building stores to achieve incremental market share. The problem is that their traffic has been relatively flat, retailers carry their famous beans, and the excitement, well, it’s worn off.During the days of the Friend’s CENTRAL PERK Coffee Shop, Starbucks was hip – the cool place to show off your new laptop and work / life balance. To achieve social status among friends who buy private label toilet paper privately yet drink $5 coffees publicly. To bask in the contrived ambiance of Disney World type environmental controls including the right music, purple chair, and intelligent sounding drinks. Ho, hum.The problem is that the world keeps looking better, thanks in large part to the Starbuck’s movement. No longer can we drink vending machine coffee in a white Styrofoam cup and be happy.But Starbuck’s recent announcement to build yet another 1700 stores misses the point. In a world of cookie cutter homes, suburbs, shopping centers, and coffee shops must we venture outside the galaxy for a bit of authenticity? A bit of uniqueness?Buck the stars in our galaxy, Starbucks, and do something new and don’t go into the black hole.

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