It was with anticipation that I read this year’s Best Of Awards, for I was eager to see how my voted-for choices fared. I really believe in Santa Barbara’s pride in preserving a sense of small-town community, including a love for our (sadly decreasing) local businesses. Overall the results of the poll seemed to reflect this pride, yet imagine my surprise upon reading that Starbucks won “Best Coffehouse” over endearing local establishments like The Coffee Cat or Muddy Waters. Another chain, Coffee Beans & Tea Leaf, was unfortunately the runner-up.
Everybody knows Starbucks is perhaps the largest corporate giant to consume our planet. There’s nothing “small town” and “local” about it, with its over 16,000 locations in 49 countries, seven of those locations in Santa Barbara. Yet somehow S.B. Independent voters have been won over (or mowed over) by an international, cultureless production line. It contradicts everything I hear from my neighbors, and even those people currently running for office on the Santa Barbara preservation platform.
Perhaps we’ve allowed ourselves to become weary, no longer able to actually stand up and act on our ideals of supporting local businesses, yet we can still whisper the mantra-or perhaps we are just singing a eulogy for yet another local business, and Coffee Cat, Muddy Waters, or any other local coffee shop may not even be here to vote for next year. Then again perhaps we will rethink our votes, and next year really support Santa Barbara’s Best.-Sara Genevieve Boyd