Local Shops React To Starbucks Plan On Wedington

A Starbucks may soon open up along Wedington Drive in Fayetteville, according to site plans released by the city Tuesday (July 9). But locals were split on whether the national chain along the major roadway would hurt nearby smaller coffee shops.

The site plans from Morrison-Shipley Engineers proposes the Starbucks coffee shop be placed in a 6,000-square-foot building near the Walmart Neighborhood Market on Black Forest Drive near Wedington Drive.

The plans call the proposed area the “Starbucks Center at Forest Hills.”

“Some folks, no matter where they are they are going to seek out a Starbucks,” said Fayetteville City Council member Adella Gray. “They have a Starbucks app and so forth.”

Gray said another Starbucks would bring in more jobs to the city, also adding it would help with tourism.

“When people come to Fayetteville, they need to be able to find familiar brands and things they like,” she said.

Some people said bringing in another outlet of the national chain could hurt locally owned coffee shops like Arsaga’s.

“Starbucks has huge marketing campaigns and local ones just can’t do that,” said John Holt. “They just can not compete on that level.”

Ava Arsaga is the Director of Operations at Arsaga’s. Her family opened the business located in Northwest Arkansas in 1992.

“I think the town is big enough for multiple coffee retailers,” she said. “We were a lot more concerned about it in the late 90’s, whenever it was this sensation growing. Since we’ve opened, it’s only grown. We really haven’t noticed any ill effects from Starbucks.”

Arsaga’s roasts the highest quality Arabica beans in small batches to bring out the nuances of each coffee, so that you taste much more than just the singe of the roast, according to it’s website.

The family-owned business started with one cafe, to now having four.

“If you can sort of create a network of coffee shops, you can withstand something like Starbucks coming in a little bit better,” Arsaga said.

There are nine Starbucks locations in Northwest Arkansas, according to the company’s website.

The Fayetteville Planning Commission is scheduled to consider the plans at its next regular meeting July 16.

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