burnt coffee: deal with starbucks spells doom for 1 fordham plaza newsstand?

[UPDATE (2014.07.18): There are new developments in this story; see below.]

From the Norwood News:

Profits have tanked for the operator of a newsstand in the lobby of One Fordham Plaza, the enormous ten-story complex that’s home to city, medical and private offices. That’s because the owner of the stand [had] to stop selling coffee following a deal struck between the management company and the newly-opened Starbucks coffeehouse in the building’s first floor.

I’m not gonna lie – I was a lil’ excited about Starbucks opening (again) at Fordham Plaza. Upon hearing this story, however, that excitement quickly waned.

Just how badly did the newsstand owner’s profits tank? The NY Daily News has the answer:

The massive office tower’s manager, Tony Wallace, allegedly told the owner of the small unnamed kiosk in the back of the building’s lobby to put the kibosh on their hot beverage sales, angering office workers who relied on the cheap cups of joe for their morning buzz.


Zwyer said the kiosk’s owner told her last week his business is down 80% since the ban, which went into effect June 13.

(Emphasis mine.)

The steep drop in business isn’t the only casualty of this deal; returning to the Norwood News article, we see that:

“After speaking with the operator of the news stand I have been informed that he had to lay off his only employee, who has been with him for 5 years, because business has drastically decreased already,” wrote Geisa Martinez.

(Emphasis mine.)

Was the newsstand’s dollar cup of coffee really a threat to Starbucks? Sounds like another unfortunate case of pushing the lil’ guy around to placate big daddy Corporation. :-/

Now, Geisa Martinez created a petition to reinstate coffee and tea sales at the newsstand; as of today, that petition has 175 signatures – one of which is mine. In my mind, there is absolutely no good reason the newsstand owner has to get the shaft to accommodate the Starbucks. Speaking of Starbucks, let’s return to the NY Daily News article for a second:

A representative for the corporate beverage giant denied any knowledge of the situation.

“Starbucks does not dictate what other stands or locations sell coffee,” a company spokesman said. “In fact, Starbucks welcomes competition and has helped to create a market where independent stores and small chains can continue to grow along with Starbucks.”

If the rep is telling the truth (honestly, I’m not convinced), that would mean the building manager made this decision unilaterally, which is really screwed up. Some might say that improving The Bronx won’t come without casualties, but there really isn’t a good reason for One Fordham Plaza management and Starbucks to manufacture one through this raw deal.

Update: One Fordham Plaza management has lifted the ban on coffee sales it imposed on a newsstand owner; from the New York Daily News:

The brew is back!

A newsstand at 1 Fordham Plaza is serving up fresh cups of joe again after a bizarre month-long ban barring it from selling its dollar java was lifted.


The order sparked building-wide outrage and an online petition that garnered more than 600 signatures. It also caused a plunge in newsstand sales, leading to the firing of one worker, said kiosk employee Mohammed Alam.

“We’re just glad to be selling coffee again,” Alam said. “They negotiated something, and we’re just happy to be here.”

Nice to see community mobilization leading to a positive outcome in this case. Enjoy your dollar cups, Fordhamites!

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