Saturday, August 27, 2011

Our neighborhood Starbucks gets a nod from the New York Times (no less)

Starbucks achieved some great free "product placement" yesterday when the New York Times published a profile of the company's Madison Park store in a article headlined, "There's One on Every Corner, But None Like This."  The editorial motivation for the piece is the fact that our locally-based, global Mega Coffee Purveyor is experimenting in Madison Park with something new: wine and beer.

What we already knew, the world now knows.

Describing our neighborhood as "lovely," writer William Yardley notes that Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz lives in Madison Park and often "pops in" to the store on his way to "brand building."  Yardley speculates on whether this fact was having any impact on the employees' behavior while the reporter was on the premises:

"Were the baristas looking for their boss, who lives in a ton of house nearby? Were they anxious? Were they freaking out? Is it true that they undergo special scrutiny before they can work there? Do they sometimes wish they worked in one of those apathy-oozing independent coffee shops in an edgier part of town? Surely they have a tattoo or two beneath those buttoned black sleeves, right?"

It may be shocking to some to discover that Madison Park is apparently not considered "edgy."  This Yardley is not some fly-in from New York who might not know better, either.  He is, we believe, the paper's local stringer, or at minimum a regular reporter for the NYT who is based here. So when it comes to Seattle, he probably knows "edgy" from "not edgy."  We'll just have to live with our perceived lack of edginess.

By the way, if you're thinking that the New York Times' piece was prompted by Starbucks' desire to have national media attention for its local experiment, you're almost certainly wrong.  Yardley has a tough time getting answers to questions like the ones he poses in the excerpt above.  Some answers were eventually forthcoming from Starbucks' media relations team (aka Corporate), and you can read all about it by clicking on the link above.

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