As coffee drinkers filter into the newly-erected Starbucks on the campus of West Chester University, the dimly lit room and the smell of freshly-ground coffee lingering in the air gives them a full sensory experience that is unlike that of any other coffee shop on campus.The Starbucks experience is often replicated by emerging coffee chains, but never quite duplicated. Many attribute the Starbucks phenomena to the coffee shop’s unparalleled atmosphere.
On the campus of WCU, there are multiple locations students and faculty can go to get their daily coffee fix.
Java City, whose coffee stand in the library recently closed down to make way for Starbucks, used to hold a semi-monopoly on the University’s coffee sales.
However, with Starbucks recently thrown into the mix, Java City is not only losing a majority of its daily customers, but is struggling to find ways to compete with the plethora of menu options Starbucks offers.
Bob Shaffer, Food Service Director for Aramark, oversees both Starbucks and Java City.
“They’re killing them, they’re absolutely killing them,” Shaffer said, referring to the success Starbucks is having over Java City.
“Everyone goes to Starbucks for the name,” Shaffer explained. “You get the whole Starbuck’s experience over there. The lights, the music, the aroma.”
Shaffer later revoked his initial claim that stated Starbucks’ success was eclipsing Java City’s.
“The two are totally different concepts, and cannot be compared,” Shaffer said.
Michael Walter, a fourth-year student at West Chester University and avid coffee drinker, prefers Java City over Starbucks.
“I can’t get past the big-business revolution that is intruding upon our campus,” Walter explained. “I refuse to go to Starbucks. It’s a gigantic corporation that fools its customers into thinking they are actually in a small mom and pop coffee shop.”
A morning passerby can easily see that not many students on campus share the same anti big- business ideals as Walter. On any given weekday morning, the line to get coffee at Starbucks extends outside, past the solid glass doors that grant access to the establishment.
Professors and students alike gather in Starbucks on a daily basis, huddled beneath dimly lit lights, sipping their favorite Starbucks beverage.
Krista Gallo, a third-year student frequently visits Starbucks.
“I love the convenience of having it right here in the library,” Gallo said as she sat at a table for two tucked in away in a small corner of Starbucks.
Gallo’s favorite drink, the skinny latte is one of the many reasons she said she prefers Starbucks over Java City. “Really, I just love the atmosphere at Starbucks, it’s so relaxing,” Gallo said.
An opposite atmosphere can be found at Java City in Sykes Student Union.
Java City does not share similar seating arrangements, but Sykes’ only specialty coffee establishment offers similar choices with fewer long lines.
Many West Chester University students and faculty seem to have made up their minds about what on-campus coffee shop they prefer, but some students prefer Sykes because of it’s convinient location.
Bob Shaffer has overseen the University’s rapid switch from Java City to Starbucks coffee and although he tried to deem the two incomparable, he ultimately noted what is becoming blindingly apparent: Java City is no match for the Starbucks phenomenon.
Starbucks will be officially dedicated this Wednesday by the WCU Community and Dining Services with a ribbon cutting ceremony in the newly-opened store.
Garrett Santora is a fourth-year student with a minor in journalism. He can be reached at GS592069@wcupa.edu.