In response to your recent article (“Starbucks submits application for Main and First,” May 9), I cannot help but wonder why (or how) Starbucks opening up shop across the street from The Napa Valley Coffee Roasting Company is even up for debate.

Although a bold move on Starbucks’ part, I wonder what kind of slippery slope we are venturing down if local government starts punishing businesses for their success, and stifling those who are nothing short of pioneers of their industry.

Who is to say that the next big company-owned car dealer cannot open up next to a locally-owned franchise dealer? We live in America, where capitalism reigns and the fundamentals of free markets and private enterprise have brought us greater innovation, quality, and success than any nation before us.

I am a firm believer that competition breeds quality. I have seen many instances first-hand of how a corporate giant's looming presence can threaten a small business' livelihood. However, competition also forces businesses to re-think their status quo, and strive for even higher benchmarks in service and product offerings.

As for downtown’s situation, I don’t think I’m going out on a limb here by saying that until recently, downtown Napa as a whole has not exactly been the pinnacle of success. It takes entrepreneurial developers like those of the Napa Square or the Napa Riverfront building to know that a wide variety of local and commercial enterprises can only help the cause.

What is most disturbing to me is that there are people in our town of the mindset where they “just hate to see downtown Napa turn into Walnut Creek.” That is exactly what Napa needs to become! A thriving, high-end, bustling downtown, bringing millions in new business and tax revenues from both tourists and locals alike.

Please do not get me wrong — as much as I may enjoy the occasional Starbucks, I support the Napa Valley Coffee Roasting Company and have very fond memories there over the years. I spent many childhood mornings sitting in the sunny window sipping the foam off the top of my mother’s cappuccinos.

The image of corporate America imposing on such a serene visual will raise some eyebrows (and maybe a few picket signs), but if local businesses can truly offer superior products, quality, and service, then they will prevail.

I am a bit disappointed in the Napa Valley Register for providing such a one-sided look at the story. It seems highly irrelevant and almost inappropriate to quote somebody’s subjective opinion on how they dislike the taste of Starbucks coffee.

Based on Starbucks’ unprecedented success, I would venture to say that the rest of America disagrees. I wish both the Napa Valley Coffee Roasting Company and Starbucks the best of luck.

(Silva lives in Napa.)

(7) comments

Bystander

Protectionism allows for local or national competiton

DavidPosner

Yes I look forward to the time when all our downtowns are uniformly populated with international chains. Whereever you go you will be home.

glenroy
glenroy

Folks just have to accept that there is a certain percent of our society that are never going to figure it out, they go through life opposed to things and forces they know little about while supporting political policies they know even less than a little about….just the way it is.

Old Time Napkin

Here's a young man that gets it right.Competition drives the economy and creates good businesses.Protectionism does not work, it just creates mediocre businesses. Protectionism gives no incentive to a business to improve or be responsive to the customer.

31

Silva, I couldn't AGREE with you MORE!!!

Concerned Citizen

RegisterMan is right. We already resemble Walnut Creek, Moraga and more. The changes are phenomenal! And, it is not going to harm a soul when Starbucks is in downtown. We need more choices. I love our little downtown. It's beautiful and has so much potential. Big mistakes have been made in the past with design concept, huge clock towers, creek improvements that turned out to be functionally in error but, a Starbucks???? Bring it on.

Also, thank you to the author of this letter. Wonderfully well written and filled with reason.

RegisterMan

I was able to find a Starbucks in Hong Kong and Singapore last year. I have been asked by tourists on morning walks the location of a Starbucks when I have taken my walks in town. We found Yosmite wine in a 7-11 in Hong Kong. Starbucks is international. Napa has international tourists. We need a Starbucks downtown.

Napa already looks like Walnut Creek for someone who remembers downtown 60 years ago. I want my army navy surplus store back instead of a 4 story building. I want my french backery hanging over the creek instead of a parking lot with a culvert underneath.

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