Here’s my dirty secret: I don’t drink coffee. Friends, co-workers, enemies—they all drink coffee. What I do like to do is support local businesses, and places like Coffee Culture and the Beanery are on my list. And who can resist the smell of coffee? I say no one.
I ventured out to find coffee lovers who wanted to support Corvallis’ solid coffee scene (or maybe they’re just addicted to caffeine) and here’s what I found:
Starbucks is not Wal-Mart… not yet. At least not around here.
Let me step back a minute. I pulled up a chair at the 9th Street Coffee Culture with Stephanie Kew, a Corvallis resident, who moved here in January from California, and she was more than happy to share part of her Friday afternoon with me.
“I come here for the ambiance. They have really good coffee and they remember my name when I come in.” She even told me she slipped candy canes in the stockings hanging under the counter for the employees. Another reason she comes to Coffee Culture is because “I like to support local businesses.”
I asked Stephanie if she had an opinion on Coffee Culture versus Starbucks and she says she goes to both. In a quieter voice she says, “They know my name, too.”
After promising Stephanie I wasn’t undercover for Starbucks, she said she used to go when she lived in California, too, because her dad would give her gift cards. “It’s not like Wal-Mart. I don’t shop there.”
The few people I talked with in the Beanery off of Circle Boulevard didn’t wholly curse Starbucks either. One woman said, “I come here for the food. It’s better than Starbucks. Theirs is all sugar and fat. My mom works for a Starbucks corporate office in California and I’m always telling her to get better food. The coffee is great no matter where you go. That’s why I like it.”
Another man smiled sheepishly. He said he wasn’t a regular and he didn’t even drink coffee. Very suspicious, I’d say.
So here’s the thing… the people of Corvallis aren’t all that ashamed to say they enjoy our local coffee joints as well as the super-commercialized Starbucks, perhaps both dispelling the rumors that Corvallisites are fiercly hyper-local – as well as greatly reinforcing them.