Starbucks arrival brews up controversy in Stowe

Published: Sep. 26, 2023 at 4:17 PM EDT
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STOWE, Vt. (WCAX) - The town of Stowe is known for its tourist charm and local businesses. But recent news that a Starbucks was coming to town has brewed some controversy.

From Café on Main to Black Cap Coffee & Kakery of Vermont, there’s a variety of local coffee shops to choose from in Stowe. But now the town is adding a Starbucks to the mix, generating some strong opinions from visitors.

“I don’t think it’s good. I mean, the people depend on local businesses, so I say let’s support the local businesses,” said Janice Thornton, a visitor from Massachusetts. “If I were to come here, in Vermont, I would want to frequent Vermont stores and not do the chain restaurant.”

“I think if you only have one or two, it would be great because places like this, you know, you don’t want them going out of business,” said Paula Gallagher, a visitor from Hawaii. “I’m originally from New York, so when a lot of them were opening -- especially on the Upper East Side -- they proliferated. They were like on every other other block and I think that’s what people are upset about.”

Black Cap has been under its current ownership since 2013 and originally opened in the village in 2010. Owner Laura Vilalta says her shop has unique qualities that others don’t. “It is rooted in Vermont. We offer maple scones, maple products, and we are from here,” she said.

Vilalta says she also takes pride in being a woman-owned and managed business and isn’t phased by the competition. “We look at our customers as our friends and neighbors and we look at our tourists as people who we are willing to offer the best of our state for them to leave with a nice memory of it,” she said.

The Starbucks is set to open on Main Street -- just a few doors down from Black Cap -- this winter.

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