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Coffee City

Melissa Allison follows the world's biggest coffee-shop chain and other Seattle caffeine purveyors.

February 2, 2010 at 3:17 PM

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Local artist does corporate whiplash dance with Starbucks

Posted by Melissa Allison

no fair.jpgWhen Starbucks opened two coffeehouses on Capitol Hill last year that do not carry the Starbucks name, they were billed as neighborhood-centric spaces without the corporate overlay.

They've accomplished a lot, including gaining admiration from discerning Seattle baristas and regularly hosting local bands and dramatic readings, which 15th Avenue Coffee and Tea promotes on its blog.

Sometimes their community-friendly ideas bump up against corporate, though, and it becomes clear that these spaces are owned by a publicly traded coffee giant and not some eccentric entrepreneur.

Capitol Hill artist Megan Myers found out about that the hard way.

She was approached months ago by Roy Street Coffee and Tea about holding a show there, and it was scheduled to open next weekend. She spent hundreds of dollars creating 18 pieces (including the acrylic on canvas painting pictured above) and promoting the show with printed postcards, then learned it had been canceled by corporate.

After I contacted Starbucks to ask for a comment, they called Myers to say there was a misunderstanding. Her show wasn't really canceled. It won't open next weekend, but at some undecided point in the future, if she is still interested.

Myers is not interested. "I don't feel like that was handled appropriately, and I would rather support and be supported by Capitol Hill local businesses who have been so kind to me in the past," she said.

According to Starbucks spokesman Alan Hilowitz, "There was a miscommunication and the show will be rescheduled. There were just some logistics for the show that needed be taken care of first, but those are being worked out."

Update 2/3/10: Myers has found a new home for her show at Bluebird Homemade Ice Cream & Cafe at 1205 E. Pike St. The opening is scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 11, from 6 to 8 p.m., during the Capitol Hill Art Walk. Interesting comments at the CHS Capitol Hill Seattle Blog.

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