Less than a week after the Bean signaled its intentions to occupy the long-vacant Crazy Landlord storefront, there’s news that the coffee shop will further expand its East Village empire.
EV Grieve reports that in addition to the Crazy Landlord shop and one across from the Strand, the Bean’s owners are planning to put down stakes on the northwest corner of First Avenue and 9th Street, in the space formerly occupied by Angelica’s Herbs.
Predictably, this news caused some degree of commenter griping along the lines of “Starbucks started out as a neighborhood place, too, with lousy coffee and undistinguished baked goods.” In response, the Bean’s general manager took to the blog to assure everyone that “we haven’t ‘sold out’ or ‘gone corporate’ and we’ve had this expansion in mind for sometime.” Furthermore, “we don’t really think of [opening two more cafés in the neighborhood] as an ‘aggressive’ business move as the Bean remains an independently owned and operated neighborhood business.”
In any case, a more accurate comparison than Starbucks would be Joe the Art of Coffee, another independently owned New York-based coffee shop that now has six locations in Manhattan and one in Brooklyn’s Dekalb Market. The difference there is that Joe’s storefronts are spread out across the city instead of concentrated in one neighborhood. So while it’s nice to see East Village storefronts being snapped up by a local business that isn’t Duane Reade, one wonders if the Bean’s owners would do better to spread out the wealth a little bit. Either way, here’s hoping they remember to pay the taxes that come with all of those new locations.