This Day On The Street
Continue to site right-arrow
ADVERTISEMENT
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
$1 buys you full access to ALL of TheStreet's Subscription Services! Learn More

Starbucks: Urban Renewer, Urban Opportunist

Stocks in this article: SBUX

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Over the holiday break, I visited My Hometown of Niagara Falls, New York.

That track -- one of seven top 10 singles from Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band's Born in the U.S.A. album -- embodies parts of the place quite well. But Downbound Train, one of the better, relatively unknown songs on that record, does an as good, if not better job articulating the attitude of this and other broken and beaten down places always, seemingly, on the cusp of revival:

Now I work down at the carwash/Where all it ever does is rain/Don't you feel like you're a rider on a downbound train

So there's that side of Niagara Falls, New York. The one Bloomberg BusinessWeek did an excellent (and very long) piece on back in December 2010.

Three-plus years later and not much has changed. Springsteen can still provide the soundtrack for Niagara Falls. And BusinessWeek's unfortunate, but wholly accurate description still applies. A straightforward description with the attendant source of bewilderment that has dogged residents and other observers for several lost decades ...

... the decrepit city in western New York State ... in spite of its proximity to an attraction that draws at least 8 million tourists each year ...

Full disclosure: I was born in and lived in that "decrepit city" along the Canadian border for 19 years. Come to think of it, when I turn 39 this summer I will have officially spent more years living away from Niagara Falls than I spent living in it. And, while I would be lying if I said I miss the place, I still want to see it recover.

There's a fair bit of revitalization going on these days, including a hopeful program CNBC reported on in 2012 where the city will cover student loan payments for college graduates who agree to live in targeted neighborhoods. It's this type of initiative -- and others that are creative, new and championed by a fresh(er) generation of young people in Niagara Falls -- that gives me hope my hometown will recover (or something "like" recover).

But, no surprise, many residents react to any talk of a resurgence with cynicism. I can't blame them. It's tough to be upbeat when the temperature plummets through the teens into the single digits, the wind blows and the snow falls. Much of the time, Niagara Falls just doesn't feel like a very positive place. Remove corner bars, pizza joints and droves of Canadians shoppers from the equation and you have a city with very little that resembles urban activity, unless, of course, you count crime and poverty.

The air of negativity that hangs over Niagara Falls probably explains both the reason why some residents think the soon-to-open standalone Starbucks (SBUX) can't succeed here (My mother's reaction: "Nobody's paying $4 for a coffee here.") and why it will be, relatively speaking, as lucractive a goldmine as any other Starbucks anywhere else in the world.

1 of 3

Select the service that is right for you!

COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!

Markets

DOW 17,828.24 +0.49 0.00%
S&P 500 2,067.56 -5.27 -0.25%
NASDAQ 4,791.63 +4.3130 0.09%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from Bankrate.com

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs