New Starbucks, Chase Bank bring change of scenery to Durham's 9th Street

Durham's 9th Street, known for its small businesses, is transforming.

A Chase bank recently opened and on Friday, a Starbucks will.

"I think a lot of my friends are going to go to that Starbucks a ton," said Duke student Harrison Chen.

But not everyone welcomes the national coffee chain. On the sidewalk outside Starbucks, these words: "Boycott Starbucks. Shop local."

Victor Loperfido is a regular at Triangle Coffee House on Ninth Street.

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"I like the street the way it is and it's going to change," Loperfido said. "It changes who's going to come here and it changes the vibe too. It's not small town America anymore."

Triangle Coffee House Owner Jermaine Bantum admits he's annoyed Starbucks is opening almost right next door to his coffee shop, described by many as having a "bohemian" vibe.

"Everywhere they could have moved, they chose to move directly, right next door," Bantum said. "Not down the block, not around the corner. But directly next door. It's a little annoying. Plus, there's a Starbucks across the street at Harris Teeter so I have to compete with them on two sides. But I'm not concerned. I welcome competition."

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He added: "When you support local businesses, you're supporting our local economy so when you're doing business with Triangle Coffee House, we get our baked good from Ninth Street Bakery, which is another local business. Starbucks is not going to do that. We're getting some of our paper goods and stuff from Not Just Paper on Main Street, which is another local business. Starbucks is not going to do that."

A Starbucks spokesperson sent a statement saying:

"We are proud to join the Raleigh, NC community. We are committed to being a good neighbor in Raleigh and to having an open dialogue about the community's concerns. We look forward to serving as a gathering place for citizens and visitors of the community for years to come as well as building strong connections with the community both inside and outside our stores."

In January, Starbucks created a Community Resilience Fund to support small business growth and community development projects in neighborhoods of people of color.

Some national chains have had locations on 9th Street for years, including Panera and Jimmy John's.

Some welcome the new businesses on the street.

"Growing up, I lived right down the road from here and it was small businesses so it's fun to see the different varieties that we have, the grocery stores, little grocery stores, and restaurants and different things to see," said Durham resident Debbie Griffin.

"I think that with the Chase and the Starbucks opening, it's going to bring more people, so I definitely think that that'll mean it'll have more money coming throughout the community to build up the older businesses," said Durham resident Ablessin Johnson.

"I think having more options is nice but we definitely do love the small businesses around here," Chen said.
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