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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

Opinion-- A list of regrets before I graduate
Opinion-- A list of regrets before I graduate
Sal WiertellaMarch 1, 2024

Students need Stone Creek, not Howard Schultz

Observing Howard Schultz’s shrine at Starbucks in the LRC demonstrates how NMU alumni can carve wild success for themselves.

Michael Williams
Michael Williams

Embodying corporate society, Schultz’s prismatic and illustrious career boasts the expansion of Starbucks from a handful of Seattle storefronts to supernational presence.

Starbucks is a global powerhouse. They have over 5,500 stores in over 50 countries. This pales in comparison to McDonald’s global market, but is impressive. And their siren logo is globally ubiquitous.

Further, they boast consumer loyalty that rivals Apple. Surely Schultz’s success is a noble feat, a model for executives everywhere.

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Schultz has been compared to Steve Jobs and Henry Ford by CNN for his managerial prowess, despite all three having undergone allegations of foreign slave labor (the latter two allegations have been verified).

Despite dubious ethics, what a compliment.

Starbucks’ awful coffee aside (who roasts their beans?), I’m bothered by the potential termination of Stone Creek Coffee, the former’s only campus competitor.

Stone Creek, a Jamrich classroom retrofitted with an espresso machine and comfortable seating, offers an alternative to the near monopoly that is Starbucks, the Wal-Mart of coffee.

Stone Creek is out of Milwaukee and have about equal number of shops across the upper Midwest as Starbucks did in Seattle before Schultz’s reign. They are not a billion-dollar company. They are passionate roasters committed to bean quality, as well as ethical production and therefore consumption.

Stone Creek has no CEO icon. They have no siren logo embedded into global consciousness. They are small, cheap and ethical.

Stone Creek sources more expensive beans (their options range from single farm to organic), yet charge customers less. In order to compete with Starbucks, they must be cheap.

According to Youth Ending Slavery, Starbucks sources 10 percent of their beans ethically (constituting the largest annual purchase of fair trade products), but leave the other 90 percent to chance encounters with ethical farms.

According to their website, Stone Creek ensures all of their beans to meet at least one criteria of their social and environmental justice ethics.

To move into Starbucks’ LRC locale, the area must be remodeled to not resemble Starbucks’ current arrangement.

Starbucks’ clause that no cafe may imitate theirs in the LRC basement, while a typical standard, precludes Stone Creek from affordably transferring their operation out of the soon-to-be-razed Jamrich.

Stone Creek has limited options. They must not inhabit New Jamrich, based again on Starbucks’ standards. They cannot imitate Starbucks.

They can, however, move to any other building on campus, contingent on space available.

Further, student traffic through buildings will be considered in Stone Creek’s potential transfer.

I will not prescribe a new location, but rather call for students to support what they love.

For students who appreciate Stone Creek’s coffee and ethics, email Dining Services at [email protected] with formal requests to find the shop an alternative location.

Don’t let Starbucks Wal-Martify campus with their particularities.

Stone Creek relies on consumer support. This goes beyond charging credit cards for their dollar cups of coffee. It means taking five minutes to send an email in solidarity with the Stone Creek cause.

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