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Corporate coffee in Breck?

Jane Stebbins

BRECKENRIDGE<The little yellow house at 225 S. Main Street hasn1t been home to many things in its long life. Originally owned by Frank and Theta Brown, the historic home now is occupied by Colorado West Real Estate Group.And if realtor Carol Rockne has her way, it could be home to Starbucks Coffee as early as July 1.3I1m excited about it<if it happens, Rockne said, adding that a lease is being negotiated. 3I think it1s positive for Breckenridge overall. It adds vitality and stability in the core. I1m concerned about that.The property includes the two-bedroom home, a backyard, a garage and an old barn, three parking spots and access to the Riverwalk in the rear. Rockne wants to keep almost the all exterior elements of the house the same, including a deck and a path from the Riverwalk to Main Street.If the change in use is approved by the town, the coffee shop will be the fourth Starbucks in Summit County. Others are located in Frisco, Dillon and Keystone. The shop would join nine other coffee shops<Mountain Java, the Crown, Clint1s, the Stage Door Cafe, Cool River, Main Street Depot, Mollie MacDuff1s and the Coffee Cart on Main and Coffee Cart in City Market<in Breckenridge.Four of those<the Stage Door Cafe, Cool River, the Crown and Mollie MacDuff1s<currently are for sale.Many shop owners said they don1t believe there is room for another coffee shop<much less, a Starbucks<in town.3I don1t know how many coffee shops Breckenridge can handle, said Dave Fair, owner of Mollie MacDuff1s. 3What we have is mom-and-pop shops. There1s no way we can compete. Although we think we do a better job, most tourists, if they want a hamburger, they look for the Golden Arches.David Fitzgerald-Crosby, owner of Cool River, agreed.3It1s like Coca-Cola, he said. 3They see it and they flock to it.He and Elizabeth Conklin, co-owner of the Stage Door Cafe, said they think a chain will detract from the charm of Breckenridge.3You come here from the city, and what on earth is more prolific in the city than Starbucks? Crosby said. 3The mom-and-pop stores are what contribute to the nice atmosphere. I1m disappointed.3I1m trying to get something different, Rockne said, adding she might want to develop the rear of the lot in the future and that Starbucks would serve as a good anchor for the project. 3And I want a tenant that will, quite frankly, stay in business a few years. I1m trying to do things to my advantage and try to help the town. I don1t know how people feel about corporate coffee, and I hope it doesn1t hurt the little shops. But it should add some vitality to town.Dave Olver, an employee at Mountain Java, said he believes capitalism will weed out the weak.3I think a lot of people put the blame in the wrong area, that Starbucks is evil, Olver said. 3I think the reason Starbucks exists is because people shop there. I1m not a fan of them, but I vote with my money.So do others, and many vote for Starbucks.3I1m not going to say it (Starbucks coming to Frisco) didn1t affect us, said Jim Rodkey, owner of Rocky Mountain Coffee Roasters in Frisco. 3Our business increased every year Starbucks was there.He is not surprised Starbucks might come to Breckenridge.3I think it was inevitable, he said. 3I always wondered why they weren1t there in the first place<they totally cater to the tourist yuppie market of the world. You don1t see Starbucks in places like Meeker. Their strategy is market domination, as in market saturation, and that1s what worries the little guy. Somebody1s going to go bye-bye in Breckenridge because of this. They are definitely going to take business away from somebody.Crosby, who at one point worked at the Inxspot in Keystone, said he routinely saw people meander through River Run and choose Starbucks over the local store.But Breckenridge coffee store owners agreed they1d stick it out.3I1m not saying a corporate giant would scare me out of here, MacDuff1s Fair said. 3But everyone depends on a little tourist business, and I probably won1t get any. But I do a much better job than they do, so bring them on.3You live with it or create a niche, Rodke said. 3And then you just hope there1s enough of a niche market when Starbucks takes their share of the tourists.Jane Stebbins can be reached at 668-3998 ext. 228 or jstebbins@summitdaily.com.


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