Coffee Wars - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

9/7/06-Smith County

Coffee Wars

You've probably seen the giant steaming cup of coffee and the 10-gallon hat. Today, on Troup Highway, the second 'Yahooz' coffee shop opened for business.

With the giant Starbucks brewing more than 40 million cups each week, is it a David and Goliath situation?

KLTV 7's Lindsay Wilcox went to some local 'mom and pop' shops to find out how they plan to compete.

For those living in Whitehouse, the 'Yahooz' coffee shop was long overdue. With the nearest Starbucks miles away, Yahooz owner Valerie Smith doesn't think of them as a competitor, yet.  Within the year, however, she plans on opening stores in Tyler much closer to the coffee giant. Valerie is convinced her air-roasted coffee will convert even the staunchest Starbucks junkies.

"When you roast coffee in a drum, the fire actually burns some of the beans, and that's why some coffee tastes bitter. You taste the origin of the bean so much better with the air roasting," says Smith.

After a year on the square, business at Tyler's Arcadia is good for owner Shannon Stevenson and her husband. The store is independently owned, but the couple actually worked with Starbucks Corporate to capitalize on its already proven concept. They brew Seattle's Best, which is a Starbuck's brand.

"We worked really hard to create a high-end, trendy coffee house. I really see us as a compliment. I don't really see us as a competitor," says Stevenson.

For Arcadia, coffee is just the beginning. Shannon says the back portion of the building will be renovated, and ultimately become an entertainment venue.

"We see it as a way to open the doors to the community, to bring the community in and let them get to know us, and let us get to know them," says Stevenson.

Arcadia and Yahooz may have different philosophies, but they have the same goal.  When you need your next caffeine fix, they're asking you to think outside the Starbucks.

Lindsay Wilcox/Reporting:


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