Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Starbucks, won't you be my neighbour?

About a year and a half ago, when we were in the process of purchasing our house, I contacted Starbucks to enquire about any plans they had to expand in our new neighbourhood.  There is a complete lack of Starbucks in our area - and this is an oddity in Toronto.  Even in areas where you would least expect a Starbucks, they have appeared over the years. 

It's no secret that Starbucks are believed to be associated with higher property values.  So I will admit, that was one thing on my mind.  But I also just like the idea of a Starbucks nearby: sometimes I will go out for a walk, just for the purpose of getting out the house, and I like to have a destination, and Starbucks is just that.  Don't get me wrong, I also LOVE independent coffee houses (which our neighbourhood also has a shortage of), and I, by no means, think that Starbucks is the be all and end all of coffee.  But there also seems to be an (irrational) stigma about living in a Starbucks-less neighbourhood.  Is it underdeveloped?  Undiscovered?  Or just plain not worthy?

The reply I got from Starbucks was a canned, albeit friendly response thanking me for the suggestion.  And it was signed "Jesus".  I kid you not.  (There is a God and he works at Starbucks?).

Fast-forward a year and a half, and still no sign of a Starbucks on its way.  I've watched a new Tim Hortons drive-through open up, a new RBC on a previously empty lot, and numerous high-end condo sales centres.  But still no Starbucks.  I found this map, and it assured me I am not insane - there is a void!

So I decided to do a little research to find out some of the demographics of the area.

My little disclaimer: I take no responsibility for incorrect information.  I do my best, but that's all I can promise!

I can only draw so many conclusions from the limited information I had available to me.  But from what I can tell, this area has a higher percentage of people of working age (25-64) than is the average for the City of Toronto as a whole.  I would imagine this to be Starbucks' target age range.  Additionally, the Stonegate-Queensway area is well above the city's average for Household Income, and both areas I researched are higher than the city when looking at Median Family Income.  I would think this is tied to greater disposable income and increased likelihood of spending money on the ever-increasing cost of coffee. 

I also went out on a limb, and presumed that couples with one child or no children would have greater disposable income than those with more than one child.  Again, among couples in this area, there is a higher percentage with one child or no children than is the average across the city.   

I would love to know the exact definition of Starbucks' target market, and how closely this area matches.  If this isn't the cause for the void, I'm not sure what else it could be.  There is easy access to highway, and ample parking in the area (unlike this one, this one, this one, and many others).

So tell me Starbucks, won't you be my neighbour?

1 comment:

  1. certainly love your stats Mary!

    That's interesting stuff (even for a mathphobic like me). I'd like to know what demographics they use to decide on locations too. Luckily, there's one just a few blocks from my home. Like you, I love the independent coffee shops, but there's just one within walking distance and the service at Starbucks is just so much friendlier so I've been frequenting them a bit more often...gotta love those Pumpkin Spice Lattes!