The Mercer Island Reporter this week includes a front-page photo of MIHS graduate Paget Knebel singing the Star Spangled Banner at last week’s Mariner’s game against the Los Angeles Angels. Here’s a video of her performance, taken from the field:
this is only a test
It’s been widely reported locally that Barack Obama’s mother, Stanley Dunham, spent two years on Mercer Island during high school. Yesterday’s Seattlest blog links to this 2-min Youtube video that includes footage of MI downtown and interviews with two locals.
Maybe that’s why I saw somebody driving around with an Obama license plate.
Mercer Island enjoys plenty of nice coffee outlets, but why do I have to drive to Seattle for the really good stuff?
Slate this this week makes a good case for why Starbucks actually helps mom-and-pop coffee houses:
According to recent figures from the Specialty Coffee Association of America, 57 percent of the nation’s coffeehouses are still mom and pops. Just over the five-year period from 2000 to 2005—long after Starbucks supposedly obliterated indie cafes—the number of mom and pops grew 40 percent, from 9,800 to nearly 14,000 coffeehouses.
There are so many great ways that a local coffee house can differentiate itself on Mercer Island.
- Exotic varietals in small batches that Starbucks, with its huge volume requirements, can’t match.
- In-store roasting: talk about fresh.
- Clover coffee machines (your $11k investment will quickly repay itself)
- Free internet access (Starbucks makes you pay)
- Kid-friendly areas so the kids can occupy themselves while Mom chats with her friends.
- In-store meeting rooms, available by reservation for group meet-ups.
David Schomer from Seattle’s Espresso Vivace has many more tips in his excellent guide to how to compete with Starbucks. And all of this is especially true for a Mercer Island location, given our proximity to the world’s finest roasters and more in Seattle.
The margins on coffee are ridiculously high. A mom-and-pop operation could even compete on price — undercharge Starbucks, at least on basic items — and still make be profitable. Mercer Island consumers are not particularly price-sensitive, especially not in the morning, and would love to have a high-quality alternative to the same-old-same-old.
Bruce, Janet, Steve, and Richard met this morning to start a new blog for people interested in Mercer Island issues. Expect to hear much more from us soon.