Newsstand Barred From Selling Coffee After Starbucks Moves Into Building

If you’re a Starbucks fan, you’d probably be pleased when one of the coffee chain’s stores opens up in your office building. But does the existence of that new java joint mean that no one else in the building should be able to sell hot, caffeinated beverages?

Workers at a large office building in The Bronx say that’s exactly what’s going on in their lobby, where the newsstand that has been serving up cheap coffee for years was ordered by building management to stop selling the stuff after a Starbucks took up residence in the tower where you’ll find the offices of the Department of Education, the Housing Authority, and the state’s Department of Human Rights.

The NY Daily News tried to get to the bottom of this story. Neither the management company nor the owners of the newsstand would comment, but a worker at the kiosk confirmed to a reporter that the landlord had given the order that no more coffee was to be sold.

Workers at the tower aren’t thrilled, as it now costs them $1.91 to get the same size cup of coffee that they could get at the newsstand for only a dollar.

“It’s about choice,” said one woman who works in the building. “They shouldn’t be able to dictate who I buy my coffee from.”

And while the kiosk owners aren’t speaking to the media, one loyal customer claims the owner told her his business has been down 80% since the no-Joe order was given.

While it’s not unheard of for foodservice businesses to make exclusivity deals with building management — we told you earlier this year about a McDonald’s franchisee suing a Maryland mall operator for allowing a Dunkin’ Donuts to open nearby — Starbucks HQ is washing its hands of this dispute.

“Starbucks does not dictate what other stands or locations sell coffee,” a rep for the company tells the Daily News. “In fact, Starbucks welcomes competition and has helped to create a market where independent stores and small chains can continue to grow along with Starbucks.”

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  1. Pacer says:

    We had something similar happen in the very small town where I live. The local health clinic has a small non-profit pharmacy and also sold a few over-the-counter meds: aspirin, cough syrups, etc. A grocery chain rented space on the bottom floor and opened a store and had the owner of the building stop the pharmacy from selling these things because it supposedly would impact the grocery store’s sales of the same things.

  2. careycat says:

    People who Starbucks want the experience. They are sold an ‘experience’. People who want coffee from a newsstand want coffee from a newsstand. Totally different experience. Starbucks no doubt didn’t insist but I’ll bet the building offered it as a perk to move in.

  3. drh3 says:

    Any business travelers that patronize Courtyard hotels will recognize the pattern. Starbucks came to the lobbies about three years ago. For the first year or 18 mos. Marriott ‘suggested’ to the hotel operators that the coffee station in the lobby be removed. Within the last year it became a mandate.