Seattle Coffee Shop Owner Says Starbucks Ripped Off Her Look

Starbucks, after finally coming to terms with the fact that it is soul-crushingly bland, has been trying to reinvent itself as… well, not Starbucks. They’re stripping the branding from a few of their stores and renaming them after the communities that they’re in -- but one local coffee shop owner says they’ve gone too far to try to blend in.

According to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Starbucks had this to say about their de-branding efforts:

“We’re continuing our commitment to delivering specialty coffee excellence while refreshing our store design approach with an amplified focus on local relevance,” Kim-Williams said, citing the earthy store at First Avenue and Pike Street as an earlier example of the guise. “Ultimately, we hope customers will feel an enhanced sense of community and a deeper connection to our coffee heritage.”

Linda Derschang says that Starbucks is simply forging a deeper connection to her interior design ideas.

“It’s got a lot of salvaged wood, it’s the same paint color inside as Smith and some of the wood framed chalkboards look very, very similar,” she said. “If they had decided to do that look in a different neighborhood or city that would be one thing, but trying to position themselves as an independent coffee house? Where’s the independent spirit in knocking someone off?”

Starbucks was apparently spotted hanging out in one of her coffee shops — taking notes. One manager told the paper that Starbucks spies even asked her where they bought their awnings.

Derschang says she’s planning on meeting with Starbucks before considering a lawsuit.

Neighbor: Starbucks stole my ambiance [Seattle PI] (Thanks, SK!)
(Photo:louisabate)