Starbucks comes to Charlottetown

I was walking down the street yesterday when a man, obviously a tourist, asked me where to find Starbucks. When I told him we didn’t have a Starbucks he look aghast, as though he’d taken a right turn in Borden and ended up on the Moon.

It seems this is about to change. Speculation has been swirling that the old Tweel’s store at the corner of Kent and University, recently under heavy renovation and shrouded in construction cladding, is being renovated into the Island’s first Starbucks.

While there’s been no confirmation of this as the new location, the fact that Starbucks is currently advertising for a Store Manager for Prince Edward Island would seem to suggest that the rumours are at least partially true.


L.'s picture
L. on May 29, 2009 - 14:43 Permalink

Was there a Starbucks originally in the IT building?

sam's picture
sam on May 29, 2009 - 15:06 Permalink

you should have directed him to Mavor’s as they sell Starbucks there

DerekMac's picture
DerekMac on May 29, 2009 - 15:10 Permalink

There are currently two places that serve Starbucks coffee in Charlottetown, but they are not “official” Starbucks locations. Mavor’s serves it up at both their Confederation Centre and Founders Hall locations. There used to be a Starbucks coffee server in the Atlantic Technology Centre, but they are no longer there.
Adding a “real” Starbucks makes Charlottetown seem almost cosmopolitan!

John Boylan's picture
John Boylan on May 29, 2009 - 15:41 Permalink

Hooray, lousy coffee for everyone!

CharlesP's picture
CharlesP on May 29, 2009 - 16:05 Permalink

Whew. Charlottetown is severely lacking in downtown coffee shops.

oliver's picture
oliver on May 29, 2009 - 19:04 Permalink

Three months and you’ll be seeing an “Anne’s Blend” and a “Green Gables Frappuccino.”

hannah's picture
hannah on May 29, 2009 - 19:42 Permalink

And just to make it really special, the City has cut down the trees outside the site so that we can all get a clear and unrestricted eyeful of the signage and the patrons within. Woohoo.

Ann Thurlow's picture
Ann Thurlow on May 29, 2009 - 19:52 Permalink

I’m with Hannah on this. I was shocked to see those trees come down and cannot believe the City gave in to that demand.

Haley's picture
Haley on May 29, 2009 - 23:55 Permalink

A Starbucks would be great news.

kj's picture
kj on May 30, 2009 - 00:18 Permalink

Though we do have some lovely cafes in Charlottetown, they all close early! Some folks like to “hang” in a coffee shop in the evening with friends — a Starbucks would be a very welcome addition to Charlottetown!!!!

oliver's picture
oliver on May 30, 2009 - 03:03 Permalink

It’s been 15 years and I now live two thousand miles away, but still remember when they lopped off a whole block of trees for (wouldn’t you know it) a “Blockbuster Video” that moved into my neighborhood. This was in the supposedly ecological and populist city of Berkeley, California. Maybe restrictions against this kind of thing have been passed since.

Andrew Chisholm's picture
Andrew Chisholm on May 30, 2009 - 16:02 Permalink

I can’t seem to dig up any news articles but I will continue to search around because last year Starbucks announced its plans to expand into the Charlottetown market. The announced outline the location, which was said to be going near Founders Hall and also detailed the company’s desire to open their first “licensed” establishment so they could sell beer and wine. Perhaps they have changed their plans.

Personally, I feel Charlottetown could survive without a Starbucks.

Jevon's picture
Jevon on May 30, 2009 - 20:26 Permalink

I am surprised that they are doing this while they are closing a lot of stores in places with much higher populations, but perhaps they plan to try to build a captive market? No matter what, it is great to have something on that corner.

That said,. I just read about the tree being cut down. Not sure that was the copacetic thing to do.

Simon Lloyd's picture
Simon Lloyd on May 30, 2009 - 22:24 Permalink

Andrew has a good memory … There was an article in “The Guardian” almost a year ago today (June 7/08, pA5) — with the slightly Panglossian headline “Tourism season launch filled with exciting prospects” — in which plans for a “Centre Cafe” at Flounders Mall were announced. It would be licensed, have an outdoor patio, and would serve Starbucks, because:

[Kim] Green said one of the most common questions tourists ask is where the nearest Starbucks is. Now they can tell them to look no further. ‘It was a natural fit to be here.’ “

Incredibly enough, I haven’t made it to (or near) FH this year (amazing, I know), but I don’t think any such cafe has materialized to date …?

Having sampled Starbucks at a couple of the licensed re-sellers around town (Mickey’s Place at UPEI, Mavor’s) and at some real, live Big City Starbucks (an almost Ignatieffian feat of cosmopolitanism, to be sure), I can’t say I’m too arsed one way or the other whether we get a “real” location here, though I agree with KJ that any coffee place other than The Hortons that stayed open past 5pm would be a very welcome development. Unless, of course, it turns out to be true that the only reason those trees were axed at the corner of Kent and University was to make way for such a spot, in which case they’ll never see a dime of my money …

Bottoms up.

Andrew Chisholm's picture
Andrew Chisholm on May 31, 2009 - 01:36 Permalink

I just heard from a somewhat reputable source (someone on a certain committee that has to do with residents of a downtown community) that claims Charlottetown Police’s “store-front” will be going into the old Tweel’s corner.

The location, to me, seems a bit too large form my understanding of what the police department is looking to establish. Perhaps both CPD and Starbucks will occupy this corner. One thing for sure, if the police do move into this corner, I personally will be upset with our Mayor for saying he has no idea who was planning to move into the building when he justified cutting down our trees.

I guess we will have to wait and see.

Jevon's picture
Jevon on May 31, 2009 - 04:58 Permalink

You are thinking about the wrong corner ;) The “old Sam The Record Man” is across the street

Rob L's picture
Rob L on May 31, 2009 - 12:03 Permalink

Andrew… Police are definitely not going in the Tweel building. The satellite office is going tone in the old Capt Sub space on Kent St.

Andrew Chisholm's picture
Andrew Chisholm on May 31, 2009 - 12:55 Permalink

Thanks for clearing that up, Rob. It didn’t sound right to me in the first place.

Andrew MacPherson's picture
Andrew MacPherson on June 1, 2009 - 15:41 Permalink

I am a Starbucks regular mostly because has the best coffee on my walk to work that is open before 7am. It should be noted that not only does Starbucks make a better cup of coffee than Tim Hortons they are better corporate citizens. Ever heard the word “fair” about anything at Tims?

That said does Ch’town need a Starbucks. I’d say no, I will still visit Mavor’s because its neat to visit the Confed Centre and there is free wifi.

Jevon's picture
Jevon on June 1, 2009 - 18:33 Permalink

Possibly setting off a firestorm here,. BUT

Andrew: That is, without exception, entirely marketing. It is nice to believe that buying your coffee from one place or another ultimately makes some certain difference, but short of going local, I am not sure it does. Tim Horton’s does direct a lot of energy at “good” things. Their camps for children, their franchisees do a lot of local sponsoring and goodwill work (starbucks does not have franchisees who are invested in their communities), and they often donate resources to local community events.

L.'s picture
L. on June 1, 2009 - 19:39 Permalink

Whoever is going into the Old Tweel’s location had Mayor Clifford Lee chop down two perfectly good and substantial trees which were on public property on that corner — for that reason alone I will not frequent this new location

Andrew MacPherson's picture
Andrew MacPherson on June 2, 2009 - 15:51 Permalink

Agreed it is all about marketing. That said, coffee is a product Canadians can’t do much about locally so I like that Starbucks gives that option rather than seeming to go for the lowest cost lowest quality coffee. Ten Thousand Villages is an even better source of Fair Trade coffee. I like the idea that a company like Starbucks could have a big influence on how coffee bean growers are treated globally.

For me Tims gets a free ride because it is a so-called Canadian institution. An opinion poll a couple of weeks ago asked voters who was more likely to drink Tim Hortons, Harper or Ignatieff. It’s not that they don’t help out good causes its just that if I wanted to help fund minor hockey or summer camps in Canada I can do that myself. The only way I can try to give a little back to coffee growers is by buying fair trade.

On the other hand another difference is that Tims are franchises which MAY mean that money stays in the community. I know this is a thorny topic on the island but the Murphy’s do reinvest in other business….

I will say it again Charlottetown doesn’t need a Starbucks, as Peter has documented in his blog there are plenty of places to get a good cup of coffee or tea. But Cornwall…that’s another story.

Andrew MacPherson's picture
Andrew MacPherson on June 12, 2009 - 23:01 Permalink

Asking employees to “volunteer” at the Cavendish Music Concert thingy furthers my open-ended Murphy related query above.