Seeing Double

July 2, 2008

I have an addiction.  Like many others, I’m one of those people financial planners would love to get their hands on to discuss the “latte factor.”   Coffee from a coffee shop is just much more appealing to me than what I brew at home, plus I like all the fancy flavor varieties.  In our neck of the woods, most people are either “Caribou people” or “Starbucks people,” with an occasional “Dunn Brothers patron” thrown in from time to time.  (Sure, there are some great neighborhood coffee shops as well, but the majority of people I know fall into one of the above camps.)

I’m a full-fledged Caribou person and stock up on Caribou gift cards at my local Costco (you can get $50 in ‘bou bucks for just $40 – what a deal!).  However, when a second Caribou popped up across the street from my neighborhood Caribou in Minnetonka, I started to wonder if we’ve all taken this “latte factor” a bit too far.  The new Caribou literally is about 250 feet from the old one.  When I first saw the “Caribou Coming Soon” sign across the parking lot, I assumed they were getting rid of the original shop in favor of a newly renovated locale, complete with drive-thru.  I quickly learned that wasn’t the plan and was told the original Caribou was getting too busy and they opened the second one to handle the growing demand.  Both would stay open.

Is this a sign of the apocalypse?  Will rows of multiple Caribous and Starbucks start filling our neighborhood landscapes?  Fortunately, I doubt it, and am guessing this is just an anomaly, but it is pretty crazy to think any neighborhood needs more than one of any particular shop within a stone’s throw of another.  Perhaps we should start reassessing our coffee priorities a bit.

(Editor’s note: Kobi looks pretty smart. Just hours before this post went up, Starbucks announced that it would close 600 underperforming stores, most of them open less than 3 years.)