I was driving through my neighborhood grocery store parking lot when I discovered this:
For a while now I've been wondering what the little building was to become. The sign finally went up.. this town is getting it's third Starbucks.
Not that the other two really count. One's on the University campus, and the other is in our SuperTarget, so it's not really the same. But I must say, my heart sank. Not because I dislike Starbucks, because I don't. In fact, I like their coffee just fine. But it's just more sad news for my favorite local place.
Barista's Daily Grind is the epitome of what a great coffee shop should be. An indoor/outdoor choice of seating, many, many flavor choices, beautiful atmosphere, homemade scones and desserts, owned and started by a local, etc, etc. (And they top every cup with a chocolate-covered espresso bean!) So I love it there. It's the perfect place to read peacefully, write, or just have coffee with your friends.
But they are in trouble. They made deals to franchise in 21 other locations, and the law firm they hired to draft the franchise agreement was in violation of several federal franchise laws. So they lost a lot of money because of someone else's negligence. They've hired a law firm to sue their previous law firm. As of March 6th, the bank now owns Barista's, as they are hundred's of thousands of dollars in debt.
At the time Barista's opened several years ago, there was only one other coffee place in town, another local place that's since closed after trying two different locations. Bartisa's took a really ugly corner lot of the downtown area and made it simply beautiful, and brought in a great deal of business. Even my Seattle-dwelling, coffee-expert cousin approved when I took her there.
They also do great wine-tastings in the summertime, and enclose their outdoor patio during the winter to fire-up the outdoor heaters to make it warm and cozy no matter the weather. It's the kind of place where you can run into an old high school science teacher attempting to run her dog down. Or see a guy play an acoustic guitar that uses bass strings for his E and B strings (while he plays the harmonica). Or appreciate the mural painted by a local artist, or where you
you can walk through beautiful gardens and around water fountains just for kicks. Barista's really is a place like no other.
I realize my two, three stops a week don't do much in light of their large debt. But the second I saw the Starbucks sign, I drove across town to get a cup of Barista's. Their coffee is better, and I'd rather support the little guys anyway.