Coffee shops and caf

Allie Winter

Thanks to factors such as tired students, early morning classes and a future stadium, coffee shops have popped up everywhere, both independent and corporate-owned.

However, with the multitude of new coffee stores, competition will likely start to roast between the businesses.

In early May, a Caribou Coffee will open in Stadium Village in Blockbuster’s former location, possibly affecting locally owned shops Espresso Royale and Espresso Expose, just down Washington Avenue.

Dan Zielske, owner of Espresso Royale, said he’s not too worried about the new Caribou opening. However, if the new store causes any stress similar to when the Stadium Village Starbucks opened, Zielske’s store could be in trouble.

“We definitely noticed when they opened the Starbucks,” he said. “We had been on an increase trend at that point and it stopped; our sales didn’t go down, but they stopped increasing.”

Espresso Royale was originally part of a chain based out of Ann Arbor, Mich. Four years ago, Zielske said he split from the chain to become locally owned and independent.

“We’ve never done things that constitute normal chain behavior,” he said.

Zielske said he hopes this fact will keep his customers loyal, saying that he knows a lot of people do make a conscious decision to go someplace locally owned.

“There are more people who go out of their way to go to an independent shop,” he said.

Scott Thaller, a physics graduate student, is one of those people. Thaller said he goes to Espresso Royale on Washington Avenue two to three times a day for the light-roasted coffee options.

Thaller also said he will not be interrupting his routine to start sipping at the Stadium Village Caribou when it opens.

“I don’t think their coffee is as good,” he said. “There is a quality factor and their coffee has a burnt, harsh quality, I think.”

Curiosity won’t tempt Thaller’s taste buds either. He said all Caribous have the same theme.

“If another independent place opened up, I’d go see it because they’re all different and they change,” Thaller said.

But Caribou is not worried and doesn’t let steam from the competition get in the way.

Caribou Coffee Director of Marketing Patrick Campion said the company’s large variety of coffee and products attracts a broad group.

“We have smoothies,” he said. “We offer just as many noncaffeinated drinks as caffeinated ones.”

Caribou is based in Minnesota, but with locations in 18 different states, it is a corporate caffeine haven.

Campion argued Caribou’s coffee is some of the best around. He said they accomplish this by roasting and sourcing their own coffee and by relying on employees for taste testing.

Espresso Royale offers deals to cope with the coffee explosion.

“We run different specials from time to time aimed at matching what our core products are,” Zielske said.