Macomb doesn’t need a second Starbucks

Jason Adams, Courier Staff

The former Ponderosa Steakhouse has sat vacant on Jackson Street for quite some time now. Many would see the abandoned property and had dreams and fantasies about what it could become. So much potential for that space, so many cravings could be satisfied. What new delicacies could Macomb offer? Last week that question finally had an answer, it will be a Starbucks.

Don’t get me wrong, I like Starbucks, it just wasn’t what I was expecting or hoping for. Based on posts on Facebook and other social media my disappointment was shared with both college students and locals alike. The biggest point that was brought up was that there is already a Starbucks in Hy-Vee that has pretty long hours to accompany your coffee fix. The baristas are very friendly and I don’t know anyone who has had a problem with their drink. While the stand alone will have a drive-thru and reward cards can be used, I don’t know if that’s really enough of a difference to justify a second location just half a mile from each other according to Google Maps. There is a possibility that after the initial interest when it opens that it will struggle to succeed financially. The Starbucks isn’t it’s only competition either. While its location is good for individuals out running errands, coffee shops such as Dunkin and small business shops like The Study are closer to campus and many of the residential areas in Macomb and offer many of the same luxuries and conveniences that will come with the new location. Which means either the community will embrace the new location and other coffee shops will suffer, or they’ll stick to what they know or what’s convenient and the new location will struggle. While Starbucks is known to be good, the current coffee shops have already established their quality and place in the community.

While many people were hoping for other places such as Steak n’ Shake or Portillo’s (long shot but a boy can dream), the odds of landing a new restaurant isn’t likely with Macomb’s population. Decline in enrolled students and overall residents may be seen as too much of a risk by investors. Ironically the new Starbucks doing well would probably increase the chances of landing a new chain restaurant. Preferably one that wouldn’t compete too much with local places already established. Greater food options could also possibly peak the interest of more potential students. Many students that come from bigger cities are used to have easy access to restaurants such as Chipotle, Panda Express, or Portillo’s, which are all currently at least an hour away if not farther. While people make the drive, having it closer to campus would be a beneficial selling point that could help raise student population and therefore overall population Macomb.

Unfortunately both parts need the other part to happen first. Hopefully an investor will see Macomb as a risk worth taking and bring more locations to Macomb. Now we just need to find something to fill the old K-Mart.