Local java purveyors eye Starbucks plans

Rohan Klasik Irving, one of the owners of Capresso Coffee Bar on Main Street in Oneonta, hands cappuccino to a guest.

Local java purveyors eye Starbucks plans

Ready or not, a new Starbucks is about to be unleashed in Oneonta in summer 2022. While many may celebrate the brand-name lattes and cappuccinos, some locally owned coffee shops are concerned about the effect this will have on their small businesses.

The Starbucks rises on Oneonta’s south side — Route 23 near Buffalo Wild Wings — an area already congested with traffic and large businesses such as WalMart, Southside Mall, and a variety of grocery stores.

Plans for the new coffee house include a drive-through, which in other locations often sees long lines of cars filled with eager coffee seekers hoping to get their caffeine fix.

Town of Oneonta Supervisor Randal Mowers said he doesn’t see a problem with the coffee shop chain opening and isn’t worried about increased development or traffic.

“I don’t think it would be a bad thing at all,” Mr. Mowers said. “I’m not a Starbucks guy but I think I’ll certainly give it a try.”

He said the construction was delayed by supply chain issues, a common problem across the country, but expects the Starbucks will be complete by August at the latest.

Planning Board member Breck Tarbell said that there was “no concern at all at the planning meeting” regarding traffic congestion.

“There is an intersection and traffic light,” Mr. Tarbell said. “People brought it up, but their questions were answered.”

Professional Engineer Mark Day said the majority of traffic would come from Courtyard Drive rather than Route 28, according to the April 5, 2021 Town of Oneonta Planning Board minutes. The site will include pedestrian walkways for safety. At Starbuck’s request, developers removed the one-way traffic entrance to the parking lot in the construction plans so cars don’t have to reroute around the building to grab their cups of brew.

Main Street in Oneonta has no shortage of good coffee shops, but feelings about the new Starbucks are a mix of worry and indifference.

Capresso Coffee Bar owner Kevin Irving is concerned the Starbucks would drive traffic away from his store because of brand-name recognition.

“We’re a mom and pop shop,” Mr. Irving said. “Tourists are going to flock to (Starbucks) rather than local spots because they know it. People go with what they know. It’s probably going to hurt the coffee shop.”

Capresso sits on Main Street in an area with heavy foot traffic. The coffee shop has a homey atmosphere with armchairs, couches, and light music in the background.

The Latte Lounge is across the street from Capresso and is connected with to the Green Toad Bookstore, an independent book shop.

Latte Lounge manager Corey Chang said it is impossible to know how a new Starbucks will affect their business.
“It’s not built yet so I don’t know how it’ll affect things,” Ms. Chang said. “We’ll just have to wait and see.”

Dunkin’ is a major coffee shop chain which with locations throughout Oneonta and is considered primary competition for Starbucks. The franchise owner could not be reached for comment at press time.

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