Here’s an interesting question to consider: are big chains like Starbucks and Wal-Mart actually as harmful to mom and pop shops as common wisdom dictates? Not so fast, says Temple University prof Bryan Simon, who tells Reuters that that it least when it comes to Starbucks (sorry, Wal-Mart), the assumption is flat wrong:
“‘In fact, Starbucks created the market for the small coffee shop,’ says Bryant, whose new book ‘Everything but the Coffee: Learning about America from Starbucks’ is due to be released in October.
Simon argues that 20 years ago you couldn’t find a ‘good’ cup of coffee anywhere, until Starbucks came along and ‘created a desire and a taste for specialty coffee’ that eventually gave birth to the corner specialty coffee shop.”
So the guy’s got a book to sell, and those kinds of statements make headlines because they fly in the face of what most entrepreneurial types believe to be true. But what do you think? Does the argument hold water? For once we’ll refrain from commentary until you weigh in. More tomorrow…