Merced has been called a lot of things by a lot of people. Some names have been positive, some names have been negative. In my latest book, I affectionately and truthfully call Merced my adopted hometown.
But by this spring, we may call our city a five-Starbucks town
That’s because the Target store near Merced Mall will add the coffee retailer as part of a renovation project. For those of you familiar with the layout of the Merced store, Starbucks will be located where the photo department currently is housed. The photo department will be scaled down to a self-service kiosk.
The express checkouts near that location will be moved to clear additional space for the Starbucks. You will not miss it when you enter the store from the south side, the side facing Sears. The news was given to me as I checked out recently, and I confirmed it with the manager on duty. Target will house Starbucks in a matter of weeks. This new Starbucks means that by spring, lovers of that particular brand of coffee will have a total of five locations from which to choose.
The other locations are:
- 425 West Main Street
- 580 West Olive Avenue
- 500 Carol Avenue
- 779 East Yosemite Avenue
Adding a specialty retailer such as Starbucks inside an existing retailer is nothing new in business. The built-in traffic flow makes a lot of sense for both companies to come to terms on making that section of the retail space more profitable. Customers will likely enjoy the added convenience of a Starbucks inside Target. There’s something to be said about how the number and location of a Starbucks serves as an index for community growth and prosperity. Many believe the worst of the recession is now behind us, so it may make sense for some retailers to consider expanding their businesses.
In many communities, Starbucks is seen as sort of a barometer of business success. If business is doing well, they hire more people; with more people working, the likelihood of spending money on luxury items such as four-dollar specialty coffee increases.
And there may be a few companies who have been on the fence in terms of whether they should consider taking a next step in growing the business. Reasonable questions such as: is the worst of this recession really over, and will the economy stay on track long term, are likely to be raised. The fifth Starbucks coming to Merced may not be enough to get some business owners off the fence in terms of expanding and hiring.
But it may be just the right thing to bring about some optimism for the second half of this decade. Merced County still lingers among the highest in the state unemployment figures. The community could use a boost, and we’re not necessarily talking about a caffeine boost.
Let’s hope the soon-to-open Starbucks at Target will be a successful venture. Let’s hope this new venture will lead the way with expansion among local existing companies as well the starting up of new enterprises to serve customers here in Merced County and beyond.
If something like that happens, I’d be happy to buy people making the decision to grow their business in Merced a hot cup of coffee…either at the Starbucks in the Target Store, or at one of several other coffee shops that dot the community landscape.
Steve Newvine lives in Merced.