Macomb will add a second Starbucks

Steven Barnum , News editor

A second Starbucks is on its way to the east side of Macomb.

The Seattle, Wash. based coffeehouse chain will open another restaurant at 1736 E Jackson St., which will fill one of the city’s vacant buildings. Ponderosa Steakhouse previously occupied the building but shut down in 2016. Kim Pierce, the Executive Director of the Macomb Area Economic Development Corporation Office (MAEDCO), said that this was not anew development.

“We spent all that time trying bring a stand-alone Starbucks to town since about 10 years ago,” Pierce said. “At one point, the deal fell through and we have been trying to get them back into our community.”

Pierce said that the developer who worked on the project was concerned that Macomb wouldn’t be able to support a Starbucks, a notion that she thinks the location in Hy-Vee has dispelled. On top of offering a drive-thru, customers of the new location may also use their reward membership discounts.

The belief that Macomb is not large enough to attract new businesses is common. Pierce said that the number of citizens to convince businesses that it’s worth coming to that community is usually about 20,000 or more. With the decline in enrollment at Western Illinois University and expected decline in overall population after the 2020 census, Macomb residents may need to be patient.

“There’s no reason why we cannot attract some name brands to our community,” Pierce said. “The 20,000 is a hindrance but as long as we stay around there it will keep us on the radar for some of those franchises we’re trying to attract.”

When it comes to economic development, Pierce said that it’s important to continue to fill vacant buildings whenever it’s possible. Some people in the community may push for more variety like a Steak n’ Shake or Sonic, but she said that this Starbucks may encourageadditional growth.

“Whether you wanted a burger joint or something else, we think this could entice other businesses,” Pierce said. “If we have an opportunity to increase our sales tax base and bring in a nationally recognized brand, we are going to do that. That might parlay into getting some other national brands here. That’s what communities need and want.”

Additionally, Pierce adds that even though businesses like Subway and Starbucks are nationally known corporations, they are often owned by local franchisees.

Construction for the project is expected to begin in July and the Macomb community can expect an opening by the end of November. The contract was finalized on Tuesday.

“We were all excited,” Pierce said. “We think it’s great that they’re willing to invest in our community which will have nothing but positive affects for Macomb. I see Starbucks as nothing but an improvement for the community.”

Pierce said that people in the Macomb community will appreciate another option that’s evenmore accessible.

“I think that a second Starbucks location is phenomenal because now we don’t have to walk all the way inside Hy-Vee for it,” sophomore student at Western Allison Young said. “It will give us a much more convenient option.”