Drive-Thru Starbucks in the Bronx

By Shaiann Frazier

Co-op City residents welcomed their first drive-thru Starbucks this fall after months of renovating and coming soon signs.

Many residents believe the drive-thru Starbucks off the intersection of Interstate 95 and the Hutchinson River Parkway is the perfect fit for the community. Carlos Paneto, a Bronx native who frequents Starbucks says he couldn’t be happier with the new establishment. “The service was really good,” he said. “My daughter is especially excited. I was surprised they built one here.”

Co-op City is the third largest cooperative housing development in the Bronx with a population of 43,000 residents. It is home to over 100 stores and restaurants with a newly built shopping mall, the Bay Plaza Shopping Center, which opened in the summer of 2016. The diverse community is largely made up of African Americans and Latinos.

Henry Cruz, the supervisor of the new Starbucks at Bay Plaza, who also happens to manage another franchise on 225th Street in the Bronx, was pleased with the initial turnout. “It was incredible,” he said. “The people coming from the highways will bring in a lot of business.”

Nadine Lachapel, 20, a Bronx native and Co-op City resident thought the Starbucks would be popular with students.

Some, however, are on the fence like Yaw Ramsey, 60, a Co-op City resident for over 40 years. He had doubts about the popular franchise after video footage was captured in April 2018 of two Black men being arrested while waiting in a local Starbucks in Philadelphia. “When I heard about what happened to those two men, I swore I would never step foot in a Starbucks,” he said. “I was outraged. But I had to make an emergency stop after returning from a long drive. And I know Starbucks has expresso shots.”

Many share this same sentiment, and the incident sparked protests across Philadelphia and New York. It provoked so much controversy and criticism that Starbucks Chief Executive Kevin Johnson announced the closing of 8,000 U.S. store branches to train employees on racial bias.

“I like it, but I feel like its random,” said Co-Op City resident Linette Morel, 19. “I feel like a lot of people won’t come because of the prices.”

A study done by Harvard Business School found that every new Starbucks introduced into a ZIP code correlates with a 0.5 percent increase in housing prices within a year. Furthermore, the study also found that each 10-unit increase in the number of reviews for that Starbucks location influenced a 1.4 percent in housing prices of that ZIP code.

Starbucks has over 28,000 franchises worldwide. According to reports, released in 2015 by the Center for an Urban Future, there were 220 Starbucks locations in Manhattan but only 11 in the Bronx.

“Why not the Bronx? And the service was impeccable,” said Lavern Broodi, a Co-op City resident of 27 years.

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