New Bedford’s Odd Connection to Starbucks Coffee [OPINION]
What's in a name? A lot, if you are looking to market coffee to the masses in a society that is suddenly convinced it cannot function without massive doses of caffeine every day.
Many of us over a certain age remember when coffee was only crucial in the morning. It was the quintessential eyeopener. No one went to Dunkin' Donuts for an hourly bean blast. In fact, most people went to Dunkin' Donuts to get donuts. Imagine that?
At some point during the past couple of decades, we become convinced that we simply cannot function properly without an intravenous line of coffee attached to our veins. We learned to run on Dunkin'. No wonder people cannot sleep at night. They drink too much coffee.
Cities such as New Bedford are said to have a Dunkin' on every corner. That's an exaggeration, of course, but they seem to be everywhere. There is always a line at the drive-thru.
Others have made inroads in meeting New Bedford's coffee needs. Honey Dew comes to mind. But none have had the success here that Dunkin' has.
With so much demand for coffee percolating locally, why is there no Starbucks in New Bedford? There are two Starbucks in Dartmouth that I am aware of, but none in New Bedford. Folks with the Mitchell Administration once told me that the Starbucks people are not convinced, based upon median income, that New Bedford would support a Starbucks. I think they are afraid to compete with Dunkin' if you want my opinion.
It's funny, too, because Starbucks and New Bedford share something in common: Moby-Dick. The Herman Mellville classic highlights the famed New Bedford whaling industry, while Starbucks is named for one of the book's characters, Starbuck, the first mate to Captain Ahab.
TasteofHome.com says Starbucks' founders actually considered naming their coffee company Pequod after Ahab's boat but thought better of it. Smart move.
New Bedford is the city most associated with Melville's Moby-Dick, which played an important role in naming Starbucks, yet we do not have a Starbucks in New Bedford. How could that be? What an incredible oversight. Or is it a snub? It seems time we do something about that, agree?
If you believe, as I do, that Starbucks ought to acknowledge its connection to New Bedford by tossing some business our way, contact them and let them know how you feel. After all, where are you going to find better coffee drinkers than right here in New Bedford, where the whole Moby-Dick phenomenon began?
Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.