Stephen Drunsic's letter, "Prudence Urged," in defense of his father's appeal of Starbucks describes Manchester as an "authentic" Vermont town rife with locally owned specialty shops and a "few" nationally recognized brands.
Few? It is disingenuous to deny that today's Manchester is perceived as an "outlet" town that represents nothing more than a caricature of the Vermont experience. And what that caricature has engendered is the only small community in our fair state where you can say 'Vermont' and 'Armani' in the same sentence without getting a snicker. So it is hard to imagine that the addition of a small coffee shop will put the Manchester brand at risk and place us at the precipice of a "slippery slope" leading to a glut of tacky fast-food venues.
But, if I'm wrong and they do come, what's the harm? We're not talking of lining the approaches to town - as Mr. Drunsic suggested in his letter, referencing a town 30 miles to our north - with garish fast-food venues. That would never happen here, so I'm puzzled at his reasoning for making that comparison. Perhaps to etch that ugly image into the minds of his readers? Not fair. For Manchester has in place the necessary regulations to mitigate the negative impact of a chain fast-food establishment locating here.
McDonald's, Dunkin Donuts and Stewart's were required to jettison their junky architecture to earn that right, and any other business willing to do so should be welcomed.