Downtown Lancaster is home to hundreds of eclectic small businesses, some of the most popular being their cozy, yet artisanal coffee shops. In late October 2019, one of the largest coffee chains in the world, Starbucks, opened up shop right in the heart of downtown Lancaster.
On the corner of Queen Street & Orange, Starbucks opened in extremely close proximity to local coffee shops such as Café One Eight, Prince Street Cafe, Aura Espresso Room, and Passenger Coffee and Tea Showroom. According to LancasterOnline, staff writer, Chad Umble, talks about the fact that when the news broke about the Starbucks opening so close to home, there were a few concerned business owners. “Some concerned residents even met with city officials to try to stop Starbucks,” Umble writes.
However, it comes as no surprise that business for the local coffee shops still thrive even with the coffee giant entering their territory. In Susquehanna Style Magazine, Lancaster City Alliance President, Marshall Snively said, “the heart of the city is built on entrepreneurism.”
Lancaster Newspaper conducted a survey with 135 participants, consisting of employees of downtown Lancaster. The survey showed that 85% of Lancaster employees prefer to give their business to the local coffee shops. The leading answers being convenience and taste, 53% of the participants answered that their reasoning for choosing the local coffee shops is to support local businesses.
While many Lancaster residents and employees like to support their small businesses, Lancaster natives have a special kind of relationship with their local coffee shops. Lydia Ostrowski, a Millersville University student and Lancaster local coffee shop frequent, talks about her visits, “I’m from this area so I’ve been going to the small, local coffee shops like Cafe One Eight and Prince Street Cafe for years. I prefer them over Starbucks, because you can get that anywhere, but these local cafes are only here in Lancaster.”
Some local coffee shop customers also prefer the more intimate environment that the small businesses provide compared to large chains like Starbucks. Prince Street Cafe regular, Janice Garcia, says, “I go to Prince Street Cafe once a week to have coffee with my friend from high school to catch up and hang out. I like the laid-back atmosphere that I feel like Starbucks just doesn’t have.”
This new Starbucks could be a sign of a rise of gentrification in the Lancaster community. The New York Post even named Lancaster City, “The New Brooklyn,” but it looks like Lancaster residents and employees are staying loyal to the local coffee shops in their neighborhood.