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Starbucks In Kensington? Not On Their Watch

“I think it’s horrific, horrific, yeah,” fumes Chrissy.

You might think she’s talking about a terrible crime scene, or the financial crisis that’s overtaking the United States.

But no – what Chrissy is reacting to is the thought that there might possibly be a Starbucks in Kensington Market.

The proposal has prompted angry reactions from other residents as well.

“The heart of Kensington would die,” a local resident named Anthony exclaimed.

“It’s THE store. It’s up there with Home Depot, or Wal-Mart.”

Critics claim the presence of a massive corporation will forever change the dynamic of the area, which is dominated by small, family-run businesses.

“This is a historic place,” said Lucy Bove. She’s worked at the Kensington Clothing Company for 22 years.

“It’s different. [It would] be nice to keep it like that.”

Yet most Starbucks locations aren’t wanting for customers.

An outlet that recently opened at Queen and Bathurst caused a bit of a stir and a store in the increasingly trendy West Queen West area – at the corner of Dovercourt and Queen – inspired vehement responses from neighbours three years ago.

They’re both still open.

But many believe allowing a Starbucks location in the heart of Kensington Market is crossing the line. The java giant is apparently eyeing a location in the area and the real estate agent in charge of a vacant former fruit market is reportedly in talks with the company.

Nothing has been confirmed.

Kensington locals have vowed to fight the chain from coming to their neighbourhood.

A petition against Starbucks is circulating in nearly every store Kensington Market. Residents and people who come into this neighbourhood are being asked to sign it to make their feelings known.

Community groups have attempted to fight major chains in other areas in the past – some tried to block a Wendy’s from opening on the Danforth and Cabbagetown residents tried to block a Tim Horton’s – but both attempts were unsuccessful.

Community members in Leslieville are currently trying to block a SmartCentre in their area.

The real estate agent overseeing the Kensington location told CityNews the controversy has been good for business and that nothing stays the same.