I love Starbucks. You probably love Starbucks. But sometimes, too much of a good thing is just… too much. At least, that’s the feeling coming from opponents of Center City’s newest Starbucks, which is under construction in Dilworth Park right at the base of City Hall. Is Big Coffee ruining the local scene? A lot of Philadelphians seem to think so.
Positioning has a lot to do with the Starbucks furor. The new store will sit directly across the street from La Colombe, a locally-owned- and -operated independent cafe that is much beloved by that part of the city. In addition, there’s a small no-name coffee shop in Dilworth Park that already serves Starbucks coffee. And there’s another Starbucks within walking distance at Temple’s Center City campus. In short, a new Starbucks seems like a bit much.
For others, the new store’s proximity to City Hall is a bone of contention. A coffee shop located in a city building should, in their opinion, be something locally-run. The move seems like blatant capitalism when you look at it that way. City Hall is, after all, a landmark for many visitors touring Philly’s signature sights. What does it say when one of those sights has a corporate coffee chain attached?
A vocal few have defended Starbucks, however. The contrasting opinion holds that Starbucks is familiar and comfortable for a lot of people, and that a chain situated right in Dilworth Park will be a happy sight for families both local and visiting. Plus, Starbucks offers addicting signature drinks that you can’t get elsewhere. A city spokesperson said that the placement of Starbucks into Dilworth Park would make it a more welcoming and inviting space. Dilworth Park has long been an area on the upswing, where there was once a desolate and unused dead space.