Monday, 17 October 2011

Hackney secure Starbucks branding for Dalston Square Library

After a long search, to try and attract a national coffee shop chain, Hackney have finally secured the offer of a Starbucks franchise to operate out of the new Dalston Square Library. A report to Hackney's Cabinet recommends acceptance because it " will assist in providing a sense of place for the new Dalston Town Square... and will be beneficial for local economic development."

Hackney's move follows conventional political thinking. Former Labour Minster, Margaret Hodge, was impressed by the ideas of Starbucks' UK MD Darcy Willson-Rymer, who argued that the best way to save libraries is to put coffee shops in them, as Starbucks have all over the US. Hodge cited the head of Norwich libraries as a success story. "She has reversed the national footfall trend. She said that if she's ever stuck for an idea on how to run libraries, she visits Tesco." Hackney's decision does not go as far as some, like Croydon, which considered wholesale privatisation of libraries by their sale to Starbuck's USA partners LSSI.

Looking north from Dalston Square

Hackney say that the café operator will be permitted to locate tables, chairs and umbrellas within part of the public square outside the front of the café space. Unfortunately, as Hackney's Environmental Consultants advised before Dalston Square was built, the limited sunlight and high wind speeds (the canyon effect) created by the new towerblocks will not make Dalston Square generally suitable for sitting out. Still, it'll be the place to go if you want the froth blown off your capuccino and, furthermore, Hackney is one step closer to achieving its vision.

"....Towers for people who need gifts and coffee Only available from brandname shops...."
From "Regeneration Blues" by Michael Rosen


  1. don't think it'll matter, the only business it will hurt is McDonalds, as everyone with a bit of taste and consideration for local businesses will still frequent the independent coffee shops in the area like Cafe Oto, Tina We Salute You, Mouse and De Lotz. there is already a tescos and sainsburys so what difference will a coffee giant do to shake the community spirit?

  2. BAD BAD BAD. The coffee is filthy (the various syrups are there to make it just about drinkable). There are British chains which offer much better coffee, surely one of those would be interested? Or even an independent. There are SO many people in this country crying out for work, especially in the Hackney/Dalston area, why not help a few of those set up a coffee shop. LEAVE THE AMERICAN CHAINS OUT OF IT! They don't need it, WE DO.

  3. The new Dalston square library will have a cafe serving Starbucks coffee bought from Starbucks coffee company and brewed the same way as any Starbucks coffee store. But this store will not be owned by Starbucks coffee company. This store will be unique to Dalston square as it will be owned by a local business person independent from Starbucks coffee company. This store will not be a franchise store. The only connection to Starbucks will be with serving their coffee. This is a new scheme Starbucks has released as they do not offer franchise in the UK so this store will not pay any royalties to Starbucks. Their won't be any signs outside also. Starbucks coffee only serve fair trade coffee I think this idea is great. Take nothing away from local cafes but how do we know whether the coffee is bought from the fair trade market in the first place?

  4. Why? Dalston/Hackney/East London has worked so hard to become what it is. Full of independent artist/designers/coffee houses etc and Hackney council say they have had a long and hard search to find a company suitable!!!? Pretty sure they could have done better.

  5. I echo others who say, quite rightly that the coffee is atrocious. Factor in the questionable issue of Starbucks and their tax position (consider Costa if you must have a franchise where the tax position and coffee are both better) and this looks dumb. Could they really not secure an independent? In Hackney? No because Hackney Council have been taken in with this bollocks: "" will assist in providing a sense of place for the new Dalston Town Square... and will be beneficial for local economic development."

    A sense of place via a chainstore coffee store/brand. Not the place but a transient nothing could be dead in the UK in a year brand. Economic benefit? Really PR BS and nonsense. It will do nothing. particularly when they don't pay their way. Reject this and think again about independent traders - what makes Hackney great and stop treating your residents and communities like idiots.


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