Coffee shop war brewing in Moncton

Independent cafes in Moncton are struggling to hold onto their customers a week after international coffee giant Starbucks opened a new downtown location.

Independent cafes going head-to-head with international giant Starbucks

Independent cafes in Moncton are going head-to-head with international coffee giant Starbucks, which opened a new downtown location last week.

The smaller shops say Starbucks is luring some customers away, but they aren't giving up without a fight.

David Shin, who owns Cafe C'est la Vie, just a few doors down, says his sales volumes have dropped.

"Everyone wants to go there, see inside, what happened there," he said.

"That went a little stronger than I expected because of the brand name. But I think it [will] be a small tornado," with minimal damage.

Shin has put up a sign, reminding customers he uses and sells local products — something Starbucks doesn't do.

Evan Houlahan says that's why he is not a Starbucks patron.

"I'm pretty sure that I wouldn't be supporting a local family, and local produce and the local economy as much as coming to what you'd call a local mom and pop shop, for sure."

I think we should be supporting our neighbours and our friends and the businesses that they start.- Tobi Steeves, customer

Tobi Steeves agrees.

"I think we should be supporting our neighbours and our friends and the businesses that they start. And not something that comes from the States and is spreading all over the place," she said.

Meanwhile, it seems even Canada's biggest coffee chain is not immune to the latest competition.

Tim Hortons has announced its shop down the street from the from the new Starbucks, the fourth location in the city, will now be open on Sundays.

Anne Poirier-Basque, of Downtown Moncton Inc., hopes the increased competition will help bring new people downtown.

"Their concerns are legitimate, but at the same time they have to make sure they provide an environment where they will be able to bring in their customers," she said.

Shin says he does his best, offering specialties, such as Korean food and homemade desserts, and space for cultural activities, including musical performances and art displays.

He says he hopes there is enough of a market for small shops like his to survive, but whatever happens, like the name of his cafe, c'est la vie.

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