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Does Starbucks Have an Accessibility Issue?

In continuing coverage of the Starbucks 40th anniversary, The New York Times did a story this weekend that was a professional profile of CEO Howard Schultz, a history of the company, and a profile of the brand and it’s continuing comeback to coffee prominence. If you haven’t read the story, you should, if only to gather ideas for pitching a story like this on behalf of one of your own clients.

But the most interesting quotes in the story came from a Temple University professor, Bryant Simon, who’s written a book called Everything But the Coffee: Learning About America from Starbucks.

“Has anybody said they came back because people love the coffee again? They came back because they’re remaking themselves as a brand that competes on value, largely — a brand that’s everywhere, easily accessible, predictable,” he says towards the beginning of the story.

And then later: “When you’re selling stuff people don’t need, you’ve got to be selling something else, and that’s what Starbucks lost. There’s a kind of dissonance between the messaging and the actual practice.”

Whoa. Do you think this is true?

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