April 29, 2017
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Curious Kenosha: Why no north-side Starbucks location?



A curious Kenosha News reader had a thought about coffee:

“I guess I am too frequent a customer,” wrote Pete Wicklund. “And maybe I'm spoiled. But five Starbucks along or just off Highway 50? Yet we have nothing along Highway 31 between Highway 158 and Washington Road?”

How can that be, Wicklund wonders.

Pete, we feel your pain.

Kenosha north-siders continue to live in a Starbucks-free zone, which reinforces the notion that we are somehow ignored or unfortunate. (I say “we” because I am a north-sider, too.)

A Kenoshan driving west on 75th Street from Sheridan Road to the Interstate 94 mega interchange can pull into a Starbucks drive-through at 39th Avenue, then in front of Target in Pleasant Prairie, and again just before reaching the I-94 northbound access road. She can also stroll into the coffee king’s outposts inside the entrances at Target and Meijer.

The Starbucks in the two big-box retailers are operated by the stores themselves, but will still take care of your addiction. That’s five — count ’em, FIVE — places you can grab your seasonally adjusted latte on what you can legitimately call the south side of greater Kenosha.

(There is a sixth Starbucks site, and it’s technically on the north side. Open from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. inside the Clausen Center at Carthage College, a Starbucks outpost is run by the college food service operator. It’s closed on weekends, so it can’t serve as your Sunday morning hangout. During the week, however, it can fulfill your coffee wants and needs. If you can find a place to park. Oh, and when school is not in session, neither is this remote outpost. For our purposes, the Carthage location doesn’t count.)

Siting criteria

It probably won’t surprise you to know the criteria Seattle-based Starbucks employs to make site selections is not that much different than used by other retailers: traffic, population density and demographics (age, income, etc.).

As retail developments are built along Green Bay Road in the area north of the Somers Festival Foods, we boldly predict you will see a Starbucks in that vicinity in the future. Will it be 18 months from now or five years? Who can say?

If you have an afternoon to kill, Google “Starbucks site selection criteria.” You will find everything from serious business journalism to academic research to screaming screeds to conspiracy theories.

Authors Spencer Rascoff and Stan Humpries, in their book “Zillow Talk: The New Rules of Real Estate,” compare what happens to home prices in an area when a Starbucks opens.

I won’t drag you into the figures, but generally speaking, homes near a Starbucks (a quarter mile or so) appreciate more than those that are not Starbucks-adjacent.

Yes, home prices go up and down. And yes, Starbucks stores are often found in strong retail areas or neighborhoods going through gentrification. Still, the authors find a Starbucks bump to be a real thing.

When you combine good research with inevitable economic impact, it would suggest that Starbucks knows what the next hot neighborhood will be before you do. So, when a Starbucks opens a location farther north in Kenosha, buy or build a house nearby. Right away. You will make money on the deal when you sell.

(Note: Wicklund, a Kenosha resident, happens to be the local editor at our neighbor to the north, The Journal Times in Racine. He submitted his question to Curious Kenosha, and we urge you to do the same. For more information, go to www.kenoshanews.com/curiouskenosha.)


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