For years, Helix students have had three close dining options: the school’s food carts, the taco shop and the conveniently-located @Spacebar internet cafe. But the construction of a soon-to-be Starbucks adjacent from the old administration building poses a direct threat to @Spacebar, which has capitalized off of Helix students for years.
Feelings about the new Starbucks are split down the middle. Students are either excited or skeptical about the new franchise. Concerns about traffic and corporate dominance seem to be driving one side of the argument.
Starbucks is the largest coffee chain in the world with over 22,557 stores. This new location will only further decrease the amount of gourmet and local coffee shops that make La Mesa the home-like town it is.
While @Spacebar is not a gourmet coffee shop, it is a local one. @Spacebar fills the niche of a hangout and study area for many students and members of the La Mesa community.
Starbucks could fill all of those roles but many feel that it would lack the home-like environment @Spacebar already provides.
One Helix junior, Ricardo Sandoval went so far as to say, “I’m tired of these big businesses coming in and taking over local coffee shops and restaurants.”
Oddly enough, this sentiment was not shared by @Spacebar employee (who will remain unnamed). They admitted, “Starbucks will be a good thing and [will] bring lots of coffee lovers to the neighborhood.”
This employee did not seem at all concerned about the lack of business @Spacebar will receive when the new Starbucks opens. In fact, his tone was at ease.
That said, many students are looking forward to better hospitality, WiFi, and coffee since @Spacebar, for many, lacks quality products.
Nonetheless, many of these negative comments are going to only further the narrative that Starbucks will threaten @Spacebar and quite possibly drive the internet cafe away.
Only time will tell what route Helix students will take to get their coffee and afternoon snack.