A Bronx newsstand's coffee business has grinded to a halt just as a Starbucks opened in the same building. Borough reporter Erin Clarke reports that those looking for a cup of Joe aren't happy.
Some people aren't themselves until they have that morning fix and for folks at One Fordham Plaza in Belmont, it's become a little more difficult.
"My options were being robbed,” said one customer.
Robbed because they were met with a sign – “No More Coffee Being Sold Over Here” - posted at the lobby newsstand where many purchase a dollar coffee or tea to get them through the day.
NY1 cameras were not allowed in to the building.
"I use it everyday," said another customer.
According to a petition on the website change.org, in June, the newsstand's owner was told by building management that he could no longer sell the steamy drinks because a Starbucks was opening on the street level.
"I think that it should be a choice. I personally do like Starbucks, but I also enjoy his coffee," said a customer.
"I thought it was very unfair. He's been there for so many years. I don't see why he can't sell coffee. I don't think it's right to make him stop selling coffee because of a Starbucks around the corner,” said another.
After more than 15 years, business is declining and the news stand owner is faced with yet another loss of revenue.
"He had to let go one of his employees and that alone is a problem. We already have a huge unemployment rate," said a customer.
The thing is Starbucks says it doesn't mind the competition. A company spokesperson says Starbucks supports the continued operation of the newsstand and, "has helped to create a market where independent stores and small chains can continue to grow along with Starbucks.”
So why have coffee and tea been banned?
Building management could not be reached for comment.
But now borough officials are chiming in, saying there's room for both.
"We have the worker market. The people who are tenants who want a very quick cup of coffee, who automatically get it from him and then we have the people who pass by and visit this building and the students across the street who perhaps have a different coffee experience. Let the market decide. Don't let the owner of this building decide," said BOEDC president Marlene Cintron.
So far the market has spoken.
The online petition has gathered more than 500 signatures and counting.