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Coffeeberry fills Starbucks’ shadow

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by Jessica Rodriguez
Staff Writer

When one thinks of coffee, they might think of the world renowned Starbucks. Of course, this rapidly growing company would be on the tip of everyone’s tongues. It is on nearly every corner.

With the success of Starbucks nationally and even internationally, it is a wonder that small, private businesses catering to the same java drinking crowd continue to stay open.

Starbucks, the company that has been booming since the opening of its first store in 1971 in Seattle, prides itself on employees first, said Michelle Stoner, assistant manager at the Starbucks located on Foothill Boulevard in La Verne.

‘The company takes care of their employees in order to guarantee them a happy working environment,” Stoner said.

From the traditional coffee to blended coffee drink, Starbucks offers a wide range of coffees. An average coffee can cost anywhere from $3-$4.

“We still have our traditional customers that come in every morning and order their straight black coffee,” Stoner said.

It also offers many different types of pastries and sandwiches, which were recently added to the menu.

One can also find many household accessories from coffee mugs to board games at Starbucks.

There are many Starbucks stores that now provide drive thru service, so that costumers can have the convenience of a fast-paced environment.

The Starbucks on Foothill has a steady flow through its drive thru all day.

“This Starbucks has about 40 employees, which is a lot. Most stores only have 12-23 employees,” Stoner said.

Anytime Starbucks’ corporate offices consider something new, it is tested out at the La Verne location.

“We are a test store, so we get all the new and experimental stuff that they want to put into the market,” Stoner said.

The Foothill Starbucks always has at least three employees on the floor at all times. That is the minimum that it takes to keep everything going at the drive thru, on the register and taking orders.

Ideally, it tries to keep four to six employees throughout the day, so customer satisfaction with service is guaranteed.

To add to the large staff, there are a number of managers at this location. There is one store manager, two assistant managers and five supervisors. There is always at least one manager on the floor at all times running the store.

“We are the highest volume store in our zone, which includes four states: California, Arizona, Nevada and New Mexico,” Stoner said.

“I think that it helps us being so close to the freeway,” Stoner said.

“We are the only store around here and that is not normal for Starbucks,” she said.

Starbucks is widely known for having stores located where-ever someone could be looking for a coffee.

When looking for a coffee company like Starbucks, one thinks of big business.

Over the past 30 years, the Starbucks chain has been growing rapidly. It has built thousands of stores If the small town of La Verne is home to the highest volume Starbucks in California, what are the local shops that sell similar goods doing to keep up?

Are these small businesses suffering because of the booming corporation?

One such business, the Coffeeberry, is located on D Street.

It is a family owned and run store. A total of four employees work at the store and no more than two work at one time.

How is Coffeeberry holding up against a corporation like Starbucks?

Elizabeth Han, the owner of Coffeeberry, said that it helps them to be in the middle of a university campus.

“Most of out customers are the students and faculty of ULV,” Han said.

Having the University surrounding their fledgling business ­ it has been opened for a little over a year ­ has helped a great deal.

The students and faculty do not have to drive to Foothill when they can walk a few feet to a smaller coffee shop.

It might be smaller and carry less merchandise or menu options than Starbucks, but the quality is just as good at Coffeeberry.

The prices for coffee range anywhere from one to three dollars. Also offered are a variety of pastries and sandwiches.

So for La Verne it is a choice between two businesses that sell excellent coffee. One can be found in the middle of campus and the other a couple miles away.

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