The Jean-Talon Market Starbucks store that thousands of people petitioned against has closed its doors.
Back in 2015, plans for a Starbucks on the corner of Casgrain and Jean-Talon aggravated Little Italy residents. A petition was launched, garnering over 9,000 signatures against the Seattle coffee giant’s planned location, calling it “a threat to the Little Italy landscape”.
Citizens behind the petition argued that the arrival of such a chain ran contrary to the mission of the large market, operated by Montreal’s public market authority (MPM).
The opening of a Starbucks Coffee in Jean-Talon Market fundamentally denies the mission of the MPM, and favours a globalized economy, which is dehumanizing and polluting instead of promoting a local economy based on human scale and sustainable principles.
But because the Starbucks was going into a privately-owned building that wasn’t part of the market proper (although it was on the market’s fringe), neither MPM nor the borough could take any action. The Starbucks opened in April 2015, and was immediately defaced with graffiti on opening day.
It may have taken two and a half years, but the Little Italy residents got their wish: on Wednesday afternoon, citizen group Les Ami.e.s du Marché Jean-Talon announced that the café had closed, with its sign coming off the wall.
In an email to Eater, a Starbucks representative suggested that the store wasn’t seeing strong year-round business — presumably, business was concentrated in the warmer months when the market is more active.
“We are growing and making significant investments in Quebec, and have decided to focus those advancements on stores that fully serve a year-round customer and business, rather than the seasonal business we see in this store.”
Staff from the closed café were offered jobs in other nearby Starbucks.
The closure obviously leaves a gap for a new business to come in. Nicolas Fabien-Ouellet of advocacy group for the market Les Ami.e.s du Marché Jean-Talon says this is a chance to rethink the rules around what businesses can go into the area.
“People told us that they want to go to Jean Talon market and have a unique experience. So the type of business should be something that bolsters that unique experience at the Jean Talon market.”
While buildings like the Starbucks location aren’t officially part of Jean-Talon, Fabien-Ouellet says surveys conducted by his group show that most people think of them as part of the market.
Fabien-Ouellet says to help keep the market unique, the borough should consider adopting new rules to make it tougher for chains to go in, to preserve the small business focus of the market. He points to San Francisco’s “formula business restrictions”, which allow citizens to have a say on whether chain businesses with more than a certain number of outlets are allowed to open in some parts of the city.