What’s the deal with coffee chain store makeovers?


Some food trends are too short to bother with, but I can’t dismiss the coffee chain store makeover. First Starbucks realized that the cookie-cutter approach to store design wasn’t going to fly with weary consumers. They began a revamp of all global outlets which affected our Fourth Ave. retail spots. The Starbucks (2270 West 4th) look is now more than mere mermaid; it’s got a woodier, earthier deign that’s not dissimilar to a Roots store. I’ve heard that each retail spot has its own look–the same approach Aritzia takes to store design.

Starbucks alone does not make a trend. Here’s more evidence. The Blenz Alma coffee franchise (3698 West 4th), owned by Jojo and Tiffanie Sia, opened this summer looking like a minimalist, hipster space pod with teak console. It’s notably cooler than other Blenz locations. And Take Five Coffee + Bar (2278 West 4th), owned by the Punzo family, also underwent some major rebranding.

In my opinion, the new look doesn’t go with better beans or richer crema. The products taste the same to me. Plus, I never work in public spaces because I’ll get mobbed by fans. Just kidding…

I want to know what you think. Is the espresso better? Does a prettier retail spot make life that much sweeter? Are any of these guys giving 49th Parallel more competition? Do you have a favourite spot? Are you more likely to sit down with your laptop now than before the redesigns?

Don’t be shy. Weigh in by commenting.

Last modified: November 23, 2011

2 Responses to " What’s the deal with coffee chain store makeovers? "

  1. Bill Barilko says:

    In the resort business anyone who doesn’t have a soft reno every 5 years and a large one every ten can be said to be sucking hind teat-so it is with overpriced coffee joints that claim to offer ‘lifestyle’.

  2. runDRD says:

    49th parallel coffee is overrated