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New Starbucks EC location to open later this summer

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The signage for the future Elizabeth City Starbucks was installed Friday.

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By William F. West
Staff Writer

Monday, June 19, 2017

The Elizabeth City Starbucks will be opening for business later this summer.

A spokesperson for the Seattle-based coffeehouse mega-chain, in a brief email last week, confirmed the Elizabeth City location, at the southern edge of the Shoppes at Tanglewood, will begin serving customers soon. Additionally, the location's sign, which includes a notice there will be a drive-up window, was put in place late last week.

Elizabeth City Community Development Director Matthew Schelly said he and City Planner Kaitlen Alcock inspected the location last week.

Schelly said the contractor and his team appeared to be close to completing construction of the shell of the building, which is just off Halstead Boulevard Extended and close to Bypass U.S. Highway 17. The building is between McDonald’s and the Elizabeth City Murphy USA.

City Manager Rich Olson, asked in a recent interview about the future Elizabeth City Starbucks taking shape, said, "It's nice to see growth along the corridor or any growth at all within the city of Elizabeth City. That is promising."

Olson said of the future Elizabeth City Starbucks location, to his knowledge, "It's a fairly newer concept for Starbucks," as opposed to the chain having many locations embedded in existing buildings.

Olson said his information is Starbucks corporate officials feel they need a drive-up window to compete with other major chains that sell coffee.  

Jibreel Salaam, co-operator of Salaam's International Cafe off South McMorrine Street, recently gave his take about the future Elizabeth City Starbucks.

"I wish they were closer," Salaam said. "And a lot of people laugh when I say that, but I really do."

Salaam said he believes if the Elizabeth City Starbucks was in the heart of the Harbor of Hospitality, the chain would bring more business to his coffee shop and to another downtown coffee shop, Muddy Waters, "in the sense that more people will be coming toward downtown, instead of Wally World."

By Wally World, Salaam was referring to the Elizabeth City Walmart Supercenter, which anchors the Shoppes at Tanglewood.

"I mean, the sad thing is they're going to be a mile and a half, two miles away from the main small business district, a.k.a. downtown," Salaam said. "It kind of hurts us because now all the attention will be that way, instead of coming our way."

Salaam's International Cafe is presently located in a business incubator completed by River City Community Development Corp. in 2015. Muddy Waters is at the corner of West Main and North Road streets.

Attempts to reach Muddy Waters co-operator Audra Marx for this story were unsuccessful, but in a story The Virginian-Pilot published in February, Marx expressed confidence in the future of the coffee shop, which also offers specialty baked goods.

Muddy Waters, which has been in business approximately 17 years, has had a loyal following of many local residents and Coast Guard personnel, as well as the benefit of being close to the Pasquotank County seat of government and the two local law enforcement centers.

Starbucks lovers in Elizabeth City have been able to buy the chain’s coffees and other products at a stand inside the local Farm Fresh since the supermarket chain opened in the former Kmart plaza off Hughes Boulevard in 2005.

Farm Fresh President Micky Nye said in a recent email the local Starbucks stand will remain open. In fact, Nye said, "We just remodeled it."

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