Friday, September 15, 2006

Goodbye Coffee People

Once again I am the barer of ill tidings...Coffee People is dead.

The "No Back Talk", hippie coffee joint, whose roots began in the Eugene Saturday Market in the late 1970's has been bought by coffee giant Starbucks. It is indeed a sad day for coffee drinkers in Oregon. It is also a warning to coffee vendors everywhere...beware, Starbucks is coming.

Perhaps you feel that I have misstated the case. If so, read the following closely. In Sherwood, Oregon, not more than 2.5 years ago, there was a small coffee shop with truly GREAT coffee, a delicious menu, and a Barista that made you feel special.

Walking into "Coffee Ala Cart" was like strolling into the television sitcom, Cheers! You instantly felt at home and Dave, the owner, was quick to call out a greeting. It was a place where you could sit and enjoy the best cup of coffee in town while enjoying a fresh baked pastry, Coney dog, or gyros. The shop itself was seldom empty and you were always welcome to take part in the general hum of conversation; political, religious, or silly, Coffee Ala Cart had it all.

That is until their landlord decided to raise their rent. After a bit of digging, it was learned that Starbucks had not only moved in to Sherwood, they were moving everyone else out. So, Dave signed another years lease, paid his doubled rent, and didn't make a cent for a year. It was a matter of pride after all. How could one small coffee shop compete with the Giant of Over-Cooked coffee?

Starbucks has four locations in Sherwood. Yes, four. One in each of the giant grocery stores, one in the Target store and one single shop on the corner....across from where Coffee Ala Cart use to be.

At the end of Dave's years lease he received notice that his rent would double...again. Even Dave, with his giant heart, feisty temper and penguin mocha freeze, had to admit defeat. OnNew Years Eve 2004 Dave closed his doors. We miss you Dave.

With the sinking of Coffee People, I believe we are losing a little bit of Americana. Gone are the days when the little guy could say, "Gee, I'd like to try to roast my own coffee, maybe even open a little shop." Unless he plans on perching his shop in the middle of no where, he'll have to fight the giant and more often than not, Goliath will beat David.

I suppose I am getting a bit carried away. After all, I've spent more than my fair share of money at Starbucks. I have sat in their hard wooden chairs and debated life's greatest problems with my friends. In Starbucks, I've found a slice of peace and quiet when my life was crazy. Yet, somehow it doesn't seem to be enough now.

So farewell Coffee People; so long Black Tiger, Mind Freezes, and Jimbo's Hippie Cookies. You served a great cup of joe, never burnt, always tasty. You will be mourned.

Coffee People Coffeehouse
Born 1983 Died 2006
May He Rest in Peace

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