Ron Cortez passed along this interesting article which suggests that Starbucks no longer gives small coffee shops the jitters. I would agree. In talking with coffee house owners around Arizona, most don’t fear Starbucks (or never did). It’s obviously a different story if a Starbucks were to move into your retail complex. But that rarely happens. Starbucks lost its neighborhood feel when it switched to automated espresso machines and started selling blended drinks, he said. He still visits occasionally but does not consider them competition for customers. “Starbucks is good enough to get them addicted,” Merget said, “and then you take them beyond that.” Thanks Ron!