For years, Starbucks Coffee has avoided New Bedford like the plague. The reason? Most likely because the median household income in New Bedford didn't meet Starbucks' standards. In other words, they didn't think we could afford their overpriced products. But there are two Starbucks locations in Dartmouth, and I suspect that many New Bedford residents know that and frequent them. God, even Fall River has a Starbucks.

So all of a sudden, Starbucks wants in on the local action. The company wants to plunk a Starbucks Coffee on Coggeshall Street of all places. Really? Has lower Coggeshall Street upgraded its standards? Can the street urchins who beg for spare change just half a block away at the entrance to Market Basket train as Starbucks baristas? Will the fentanyl addicts bond with the caffeine addicts for moments of monumental bliss?

Why Coggeshall Street when other New Bedford locations are considered unsuitable?

Is it the proximity of the soon-to-arrive choo choo train? The Whale's Tooth rail stop is nearby but not that nearby. Maybe it's the pot shop that is expected to open almost right next door? Could be, but the potheads won't be interested in Starbucks. They'll pop over to Popeye's or McDonald's instead. Maybe it's all the traffic that whizzes by on Route 195 heading to and from the Cape? Nah, would you get off on the Coggeshall Street exit on purpose even if it were for a venti latte?

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Starbucks goes before the planning board next Wednesday for a hearing on its proposal.

Traffic on Coggeshall Street is a mess as it is. Once the pothead shop opens it will be even worse, no matter what the study suggests. Maybe they can convince Starbucks to locate over at Hicks-Logan? Oh, wait, Dunkin' already has that corner sewn up and there is already a Honey Dew two blocks up.

So what is the attraction to Coggeshall Street all of a sudden? Does Starbucks know something that the rest of us don't? Perhaps the Mitchell Administration has told them about all of the wind industry jobs coming to New Bedford.

I guess we'll find out.

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 and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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