A coffeehouse story: a web of irony

Where is this fireplace being constructed?

While sitting in the Goodbye Blue Monday coffeehouse on Wednesday, the owner of the James Gang Coffeehouse, Jim Spaulding, stopped by my table and told me that Caribou Coffee has started construction on its new space in the Westside Plaza next to Movie Gallery. The irony of this story occurred to me when I was telling Rob Brown of Bad Brain Computers about it over coffee at The Kitchen coffeehouse on Thursday morning.

A photo of the space is posted on the Land'Sake weblog by Tom Heiberg.

Full disclosure: Land'Sake and James Gang Coffeehouse are clients of mine.

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Hey Griff:

Your presentation of the irony is a little oblique. Perhaps you'd like to develop it a little further...or is this one of those hard news v. personal editorializing balancing acts that I've heard can be so challenging?

See you at Blue Monday and The Kitchen,


I'm sorry to say it, but I am disappointed in this. I really did't want to see a "Highly Commericial" coffee shop come to town. I like the two we have now.

I still know where I will be spending my coffee dollar.

It makes you wonder though, if this was a good business decision. That corner is going to be chaos over the next 2 years with all the construction and detours.

It will be much easier to get to James Gang. 8-)

Also remember, Caribou may be Minnesota run, but it is 87.8% owned by Atlanta Based Crescent Capital. You have to ask yourself how much of your coffee dollar is staying in town to support local business.

Well said, John. And I completely agree. I don't think many folks are aware of the First Islamic Investment Bank's (Crescent Capital's) 70% stake purchase that took place in 2000.

If folks want more background on the purchase, and where the corp. stands today, hit these links;

Like John, I'd rather spend my dough on locally-owned shops' offerings - and I'll gladly pay extra to enjoy their products knowing that I'm supporting a local business. Thank goodness for The Gang and the Monday. They certainly won't lose any of my patronage. I don't like 'Cari-boo' anyway :-)

Well, if you read on Snopes at the end:

In July 2002, the First Islamic Investment Bank announced that they had severed all ties with Dr. Al-Qaradawi, so the issue is now moot. First Islamic also hired Washington, D.C., law firm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher to review its charitable donations, and they have certified that no charitable contributions from Caribou's coffers go to groups banned under U.S. law.

Of course I love Blue Monday, but I think that Caribou would provide a great alternative for when James Gang closes at TWO PM on Sundays (why??), or when Goodbye Blue Monday is so full there is nowhere to sit. All of them have something to offer that the other does not. GBM and James Gang have wireless internet, but GBM has no sandwiches or soup like James Gang, which is small, and has horrible Sunday hours.

"James Gang closes at TWO PM on Sundays (why??)"

Ask Jim Spaulding. I presume, since they are open 7 days a week, they take a few hours off on Sunday to recoup. That's a helluva long week if you ask me.

Though I like Caribou, I am sorry to see them come to Northfield. I intend to boycott the NF store, make a better effort to visit GBM, James Gang and the Kitchen ... and encourage others to do the same.