My local coffeeshop

Mar 4, 2007

Erin was off to the library to study this morning, so the girls and I went for a Sunday drive, first to the airport to watch the planes, and then through the burgeoning Briar Creek development where we encountered a gigantic new elementary school and its playground.

Erin’s back home now, and I’m off on my own, visiting Bean Traders, one of the local coffeeshops, for a chance to write a manifesto about the BlogTogether and StoryBlogging initiatives. Across the street is a Starbucks, and nearby is Panera and another Starbucks. Closer to my home is Ideas, a locally owned coffeeshop that’s soon to get some stiff competition from Starbucks when it opens in a large space vacated by a chain sandwich restaurant.

(As the years-long upgrading of Highway 55 nears completion, we’re seeing development starting to transform the major intersections in our corner of Durham.)

Starbucks has been a topic of much discussion of late, as newspaper columnists, bloggers and others parse the corporate contemplations of the coffee chain’s CEO. Doc Searls has weighed in, advising Starbucks to regain its soul and focus again on a cup of good coffee.

I’m at Bean Traders partly because its an authentic coffeeshop, and I can count on my clothes and duffel bag being saturated in the aroma of coffee (especially useful on a day when I haven’t showered, like this one).

I wonder how Ideas will fare in the competition from Starbucks, although Ideas has built a loyal community of customers that includes lots of African-American customers.

The other day, when I confessed to Erin that I visit 3CUPS three or four times a week, she said to me, “You just like being a regular someplace, don’t you?” Indeed I do, and 3CUPS is the perfect place for a tea drinker. My friend Badi Bradley manages 3CUPS, and most days when I’m there for an afternoon tea break, I see other friends and acquaintances, like Peter Leone and John Shadle.

Since I’m in Chapel Hill more than I am in Durham (waking hours, at least), I most likely won’t become a regular at Ideas, Bean Traders or even the new Starbucks. But I’ll appreciate the choice of local coffeeshops nonetheless.

Anton Zuiker

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