At the development review board meeting Wednesday, Dec. 4, a preliminary hearing was held to see if a drive through service lane could be reactivated at 365 Depot Street, the proposed Starbucks location. The board gave their approval for the process to move forward.
The space is currently occupied by the Take Five drop-in daycare facility, and was prviously the site of a branch office of the Berkshire Bank. The drive through window was used by the bank to facilitate transactions by its customers.
Peter Keelan and Ed DuBlois of Equinox Square Associates are trying to bring the coffee giant to town.
DuBlois said they would like to save that specific location for Starbucks. A representative of the company is coming to Manchester later in the month to do a field visit and see the area, he said.
A Starbucks spokesperson, who identified herself as Alicia but who asked to only be identified as a spokesperson, said they are not actively pursuing a location in Manchester and instead will continue to offer the best service possible to their customers in their four Vermont locations. She said when Starbucks is interested in a location, they try to understand the community and how to best serve that place.
"We are always in conversation with various property owners and property developers and it would be premature to comment now [before anything has officially happened]," she said.
Take Five day care is currently in the space and will be moving to a new location on Mount Aeolus in Dorset this coming February. Tina Cutler, one of the owners said the opportunity to move to the new space came up before Starbucks was discussed. They told the property owner's about their potential move.
When the news hit that a Starbucks was being proposed to come to Manchester, The Journal posted the news to their Facebook page. Almost immediately, a debate was started about the merits of large corporations and chains coming to town, as opposed to more locally owned businesses. Matthew Bykowski posted in favor of Starbucks.
"This is great news! It is anther business to fill an empty space and attract customers, whom will therefore shop at other stores in town," he wrote Dec. 5. "If the Spiral Press and Ponce are at the top of their game, they should have nothing to worry about!"
Andrew Weill posted that he would like to see more "mom and pop" locally owned ventures in the area.
"Buy local from locals and SURPRISE [Weill's emphasis], your money stays local," he wrote.
There was also discussion about the outlets already in town, and how Starbucks will bring jobs and more money to the area.
Glenn Bellman, who wrote that he lives in Seattle and loves Vermont said the company is good for communities and local businesses.
"Let me tell you that no matter where Starbucks goes it improves the town/center," he wrote. "They are thoughtful about aesthetics and they're philanthropic in the community."
In more than one comment, local coffee shops and the effect Starbucks would have on their business came up, especially in regards to Spiral Press Cafe and Ponce. Bill Drunsic, owner of Spiral Press Cafe, said he welcomes Starbucks to come to Manchester.
"We will be watching them to make sure they are properly permitted," he said. "It is really the people's choice...to support a local business that supports our community or support a large outside corporation."
Starbucks was founded in Seattle in 1971 and offer over 30 blends nad single origin premium coffee. At press time, Starbucks' stock was worth $76.40 per share. According to the Wall Street Journal, the company had $14.89 billion in sales and revenue for fiscal year 2013 [a fiscal year is october to september].