Montreal Market Takes On Starbucks With Petition


Most cities have places other than supermarkets where people can buy produce – fresh produce, a little taste of the farm in an urban setting. Among Montreal’s markets, Marché Atwater and Marché Jean Talon, are very different beasts. Atwater is a little more upmarket than Jean Talon, catering as it does to what were once called yuppies; well-to-do young adults who have moved into the many condo buildings that have sprung up in the vicinity of the market over the last couple of decades. Not only is it bigger, but Jean Talon is also closer to a true farmers’ market.

The key word is local. Starbucks, so the protesters claim, just does not fit in with that local flavor.

Recent news that international coffee super-chain Starbucks is opening a store near the Jean Talon market has created a bit of an uproar among those who ply their trade at or near the market as well as regular shoppers. The market’s merchants are local fruit and vegetable producers, butchers, fishmongers, cheese-mongers and assorted others. There is no shortage of small coffee shops in the vicinity. The key word is local. Starbucks, so the protesters claim, just does not fit in with that local flavor. Would the US coffee chain be more welcome at the Atwater Market?

An online petition has been drawing numerous signatories – over 7500 as I write, with a goal of 8,000. The petition states:

The mission of the Marchés Publics de Montréal (MPM) is to give Montrealers access to local produce that correspond (sic) to their identity.

The opening of a Starbucks Coffee in Jean-Talon Market fundamentally denies the mission of the MPM, and favours a globalized economy, which is dehumanizing and polluting instead of promoting a local economy based on human scale and sustainable principles.

A Starbucks Coffee is a threat to the Little Italy landscape, a neighbourhood renowned for its independent coffee shops.

Therefore, we ask this project to be stopped.

This appears to be a David and Goliath battle. retail business can sure be a dog eat dog world, but would Starbucks not do more for its brand image by opting not to bully its way into neighborhoods like this? On one hand the company is currently encouraging its clients to have conversations about the state of racial relations with its “Race together” initiative, yet it is also potentially taking food out of the mouths of small business owners.

DCS_Grad_2 DCMontreal – Deegan Charles Stubbs – is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and an occasional Frean and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DC on Twitter @DCMontreal and on Facebook, and add him on Google+

2 thoughts on “Montreal Market Takes On Starbucks With Petition

  1. I hate their coffee. It doesn’t matter HOW many outlets they build, I still won’t drink it. Overpriced and burnt.

    We are lucky around here. We’re too small for Starbucks and the locals wouldn’t spend that much on anyone’s coffee. Not that kind of town.

  2. Pingback: Montreal Market: Like Shooting Fish in a Barrel for Parking Ticket Agents | DCMontreal: Blowing the Whistle on Society

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