Living in San Francisco, watching the neighborhood coffee shops fold only to later have their storefronts converted into Starbucks is a pretty common sight, or least it was. Now it looks like the inverse is about to happen…karma is a bitch! Or perhaps it’s just the economy that’s a bitch or an asshole or a jerk but check this out: Starbucks is starting to shut down stores. It’s the end of an era:
Starbucks Corp. said Wednesday that it would cut as many as 6,700 jobs as it closes hundreds more stores and eliminates more positions at its corporate headquarters.
Faced with slowing demand for lattes and cappuccinos because of the recession, Starbucks plans to close 300 stores, including 200 in the United States, and eliminate about 6,000 store jobs. The company also plans to eliminate about 700 corporate jobs, including about 350 at its corporate headquarters in Seattle.
The coffee giant made the announcement as it reported that its profit dropped 69 percent in its fiscal first quarter with sales continuing to slide.
I guess that with all the unemployment, foreclosures and inflation paying $6.50 for a weak cup of milk starts looking questionable. What’s sad about all of this is the layoffs, which of course affect people like students and the working class.
But if it were up to me I’d settle for, say, just one Starbucks in a 5-block radius in San Francisco, instead of 15 in a 2-block radius in my hood (I’m not exaggerating…the photo above actually shows one right in front of the other in Vancouver). The growth rate that they had up until now — 8 stores per day — was insane, and the small neighborhood coffee shop went the way of the dinosaurs because of this.
Know what also suffered? My tolerance level. Seeing aggressive office workers basically ready to off anyone who stands in their way between them and their skinny vanilla latte really tested my own humanity and made little old me feel murderous on a regular basis. I know I’m not the only one who has felt this way. New Yorkers, you know what I’m talking about!
Are you mourning the decline of Starbucks or celebrating it? Tell us your thoughts.
Via / MSNBC
Image via orangejack on Flickr
Capitalism might be the enemy of Castro’s Cuba, but according to an article in the International Herald Tribune, that hasn’t stopped Cubans from doing their own form of real estate wheeling and dealing. Apparently it’s all going on under the table, but it’s a secreto a voces:
And although there is no Century 21 here, there is a bustling underground market in homes and apartments, which has given rise to agents (illegal ones), speculators (they are illegal, too) and scams (which range from praising a dive as a dream house to backing out of a deal at the closing and pocketing the cash).
The whole enterprise is quintessentially Cuban, socialist on its face but really a black market involving equal parts drama and dinero, sometimes as much as $50,000 or more. These days, insiders say, prices are on the rise as people try to get their hands on historic homes in anticipation of a time when private property may return to Cuba.
Officially, buying or selling property is forbidden. But the island has a dire housing shortage, despite government-sponsored new construction. And that has led many Cubans to subdivide their often decaying dwellings or to upgrade their surroundings through a decades-old bartering scheme known in Cuban slang as “permuta.”
If you’ve been looking for one source for Latina owned businesses than look no more. The Hispanic Business Women’s Alliance (HBWA) has launched a new, interactive Online Directory of Latina Business Owners and Professionals at http://www.latinamarketplace.com.
This online directory will help Internet shoppers easily find and do business with Latina Business Owners and Professionals in the United States, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, registered in the Directory. “According to the latest U.S. Bureau of the Census report (2002), there are 540,909 Latina owned businesses in the United States and another 111,287 Latina businesses jointly owned with a male partner. All are excellent prospects to be registered in this new Directory,” stated Lourdes Aponte-Rosario, President of HBWA and Publisher of the Online Directory.
That’s what the American Chamber of Commerce in Mexico, and others, are saying, according to AP:
Mexicans’ refusal to “buy American” on May 1 could further polarize the debate and make reform supporters seem anti-American at the very moment that lobbyists are trying to persuade lawmakers in Washington to pass a bill that would benefit migrants, worries Larry Rubin, the chamber’s president.
“This is like shooting oneself in the foot,” Rubin said. “U.S. companies have been the first to lobby, launching a huge lobbying effort for immigration reform. … Why hurt something that is helping you?”
Um, okay…if you think that U.S. businesses are going to suddenly pull out of Mexico over one day of lost revenue, you are smoking crack. There is too much money to be made there. An example from the article:
Unskilled workers at U.S. companies usually start with Mexico’s minimum wage of $4.35 a day. While many earn more, such as seamstresses making an average of $5.89 a day — even these wages pale in comparison to paychecks offered by the same companies north of the border, conceded the chamber’s Humberto Banuelos.
A cashier at Subway (or “sandwich artist,” as the company refers to them) earns about $189 a month in Mexico City. In Colorado, Subway cashiers make four times that — $824.
You call that helping? I wonder what “hurting” looks like. I think I’d rather help myself.
Via / FOXNews.com
Photo via Pravda.ru
According to a Florida International University study, Latinos and blacks are more likely to be entrepreneurs than the rest of the population. From Black Enterprise:
According to Entrepreneurship in the U.S., a report by Florida International University, blacks are more inclined than whites of the same gender or educational background to start a business. Among blacks, those with college degrees or graduate experience are most likely to be involved in a business startup.
The dramatically higher entrepreneurial tendency is true only for startup businesses, those with no payroll history for more than three months. For new businesses, those running three to 42 months, degreed blacks and Hispanics have a smaller lead in probability of business participation over their white peers. For established firms, those operating more than 42 months, degreed blacks and Hispanics have similar or lower probabilities of participation than their white peers.
The article also suggests that the corporate “glass ceiling” may be a source of frustration for black and Latino business people, compelling them to start their own business endeavors.
Via / Black Enterprise
(File under WTF) Do my eyes deceive me or is that Thalia I see closing the trading day at NASDAQ? Why, yes, it is the star of Maria Mercedes ringing the closing bell, with some March of Dimes people and a K-Mart executive. Struggling to find the tie-in…doh, there it is:
The reason she was there wasn’t financial but humanitarian: the Mexican superstar is part of a campaign that looks to inform pregnant women on ways to avoid premature births.
Apparently Thalia is a spokesperson for both the March of Dimes and K-Mart. I also remember her hawking some Hershey’s chocolate a while back.
I always have wondered about the “closing bell” ceremony and why it’s so often used as a PR platform. I mean I can see the relevance if a company is going public, but what does Thalia ringing the bell at NASDAQ do to promote the March of Dimes? If anything, it will just have a bunch of business men thinking “who the hell is this person?” when it dawns on them “oh, that’s Tommy Mottola’s wife.”
The mean, mean person inside of me wonders if Thalia even knows what the NASDAQ is.
Check out more photos of Thalia’s field trip to NASDAQ.
Via / Univision.com
Voy, a Latino Media company has just launched a website dedicated to all Latino music. Interestingly the site is entirely in English.
“The majority of Latinos in this country are bilingual or English dominant, and there are millions of non-Latinos who love Latino music.”
The company plans to unveil a website for Spanish and Portuguese speakers in the coming year but it goes to show how music transcends language. I always find it very interesting when I go to Café Tacuba concerts and see myself next to people that don’t know a word of Spanish but are there for the love the music.
The site’s streaming radio stations feature 23 Latin music styles, such as alternative rock, indie pop, reggaeton, regional Mexican and boleros. It has its own e-label for undiscovered bands and even allows groups to upload their own tunes and distribute straight to the public. The site also sells music and offers podcasting and blogs.
Via / The Mercury News
This is a follow-up to last month’s “Cracking down on taco trucks.”
The city of Nashville is currently proposing a ban on all taco trucks due to health concerns. The taco trucks that many of us frequent will only be allowed for special events, and no longer can operate on a daily basis.
City councilman Tommy Bradley, states that the proposed ban is motivated by health concerns and that it’s not meant to target Latinos. Interestingly, Latinos are the ones that are going to be affected since they’re the ones that own the majority of the trucks in the city.
It is very wrong that the city of Nashville would do this to us, especially since taco trucks are the best source for great tacos. Where do you want us to go? Taco Bell? Yeah right.
Latinos work through the system, start their own businesses and then something like this happens. Why doesn’t the Nashville department of Health actually do their job and inspect the trucks to assure the public that they are safe instead of simply banning them?
Via / Univision
While I absolutely hate the headline of this article (“Demand for Hispanic MBAs is caliente“), it has some very interesting points about how the lack of Latino presence in business school is creating a “war for talent”:
But with Hispanic MBA students representing only 4.5% of the B-school populace, according to research by the Graduate Management Admissions Council, the pipeline is not flowing fast enough to satisfy the changing demographic (see BW, 5/12/03, “B-Schools: A Failing Grade on Minorities”). Many MBA recruiters are scrambling ever harder to attract the top Hispanic candidates.
Companies like Merrill Lynch are now hosting targeted events on campus, offering scholarships, and promoting internal Hispanic support networks, to compete with huge consumer-products companies like Procter & Gamble (PG ), whose core business depends on reaching a variety of consumers.
With all the talk about illegal immigration these days, here’s a perspective you don’t hear a lot:
In total, California farmers worked the harvest season with 100,000 fewer workers than they needed, according to the ag trade group Western Growers.
Tom Nassif, president of that trade group, is spearheading a public lobbying campaign that proclaims what for years was too taboo to say out loud: the agriculture industry relies on undocumented laborers. And Nassif—whose organization represents the growers who supply half of the nation’s fresh produce—says the problem his members face isn’t too many illegal immigrant workers, but too few.