Aberystwyth Starbucks announcement sparks campaign movement

GLOBAL coffee chain Starbucks announced last month that they would be opening a new store in Aberystwyth. Just days after the announcement  an online campaign and petition was started in opposition to the move.

A campaign photo

A campaign photo

Branwen Davies, one of the people behind the Facebook and Twitter pages of the campaign, which have gained considerable following, said: “Starbucks will do nothing for the town, the economy or local people”. He argued that Starbucks would not support the local supply chain like local business do, stating that:  “The small businesses are the lifeblood of this town and what makes it unique. We need to promote and support them.”

The new store is expected to open this September in the former premises of the Dolphin Fish and Chip shop, in Upper Great Darkgate Street near the towns clock tower.

The anti-Starbucks campaign was started by Matthew Jones, Gwion Llŷr and Branwen Davies over the threat they believe the new store will pose to local businesses. The campaigns’ Facebook page has over 1,300 likes, in addition to a Twitter page with over 180 followers. The campaign’s online petition, aimed at Starbucks and Aberystwyth Town Council, is entitled ‘We don’t want a Starbucks in Aberystwyth’ and has gained 561 signatures of the 1000 signature target so far.

Matthew said:  “We have all been overwhelmed by the amount of support the group has received, reaching over 900 likes in less than a week. We have decided to run a campaign of positivity on the page, by highlighting the benefits of not having a Starbucks, and the wide range of high standard coffee places already in Aberystwyth.”

A protest and a public meeting are also being planned by the campaigners.

Aberystwyth Chamber of Commerce Chair Chris Mackenzie-Grieve said: “There is a danger we will become another clone town.”

Aberystwyth Mayor Brenda Haines however, welcomed the news, stating: “Perhaps a lot of people will be anti-Starbucks, but I think anybody bringing in 20 jobs and taking over an empty shop is a good thing.”