Dying for Starbucks: funeral home adds coffee franchise


 

With people literally dying to get in, a funeral home in northwestern South Carolina has announced plans to open what it calls the “Starbucks Experience,” the Washington Post has reported.

Robinson Funeral Home, a fourth-generation funeral home and crematory in Easley, South Carolina, has announced that a Starbucks franchise will be added to its existing slate of services.

Having hired a full-staff of Starbucks baristas to handle the caffeine needs of every mourner, coffee will also be discreetly served to the general public.

The so-called “Coffee Corner” will also offer food, a fireplace and free Wi-Fi access

“When people have visitations, mourners come out and support the families. Adding a Starbucks is another way to do that,” stated owner Chris Robinson. 

Robinson indicated that coffee has always been a part of his family’s business.

“We’ve always served coffee to our families. So as part of this new addition, where we’re adding a new lobby, new arrangement offices, new restrooms, we decided to incorporate a separate area for people who may want coffee.”

The coffeehouse will not be intrusive — “you walk in the front, and it’s off to the side” — and is open to all, irrespective of mourning status.  The general public is welcome. 

Questioned about whether the new Starbucks would be able to perfect “Bill’s Morning Start,” a six-shot Venti, four-pump Vanilla, one-pump Mocha, extra-fat, extra-hot, upside down latte, Robinson replied: “We haven’t been trained by Starbucks yet but we can certainly give it a try.”

Although the new funeral home location will be the town’s first Starbucks, they will not be able to market themselves as an actual Starbucks franchise as they are not a full-sized store. 

That means a drive-thru is not yet available.

National Coffee Day 2011


With National Coffee Day tomorrow – Thursday, September 29th – you would think that coffee giants Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts would be celebrating customer loyalty by offering up a free cup of java.

No such luck as they have all but forgotten the celebration of years past. 

While Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts are not giving away free coffee, two companies have made major headlines and plan on participating in the “holiday” that concludes National Coupon Month.

7-Eleven stores in the United States will mark National Coffee Day with National CofFREE Day, its own caffeinated version of the celebration.  Between 7 and 11 a.m. anyone can make a morning stop at 7-Eleven to receive a free medium-size cup of hot coffee, cappuccino, or latte, while supplies last.

Krispy Kreme is celebrating National Coffee Day by giving each customer a free 12 ounce cup of House Blend coffee, with no purchase necessary.  The giveaway will also introduce the chain’s new Krispy Kreme Signature Coffee Blends that were recently released.

Starbucks, a name synonymous with coffee, sees no need to celebrate National Coffee Day, an unidentified representative wrote in response to an online inquiry.  According to the anonymous response, the international coffeehouse has no promotion planned in celebration of National Coffee Day.

“We celebrate coffee day every day,” stated a barista at a local Fort Lauderdale Starbucks.  “Why would we give away free coffee?”

Dunkin Donuts did not respond to requests for comment.

In a tough economy customer loyalty means everything.  A free cup of coffee to loyal customers would not impact the bottom line at Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts.  It’s not too late to jump on board and participate in National Coffee Day 2011.

Extreme Coupon Shopping 101


Coupon distribution and use have substantially increased the last two years.  A recent study shows that almost 89 percent of Americans admitted using coupons when shopping in 2010.  With over 175 billion coupons offered by retailers in the first half of 2011, this growth builds upon the record-breaking trends of 2009 and 2010 when 311 billion and 330 billion coupons were distributed, respectively.

Halfway through this 14th annual National Coupon Month, we are reminded that clipping coupons is an easy and fun way to save money at the supermarket.  Whether you shop at Albertsons, BJ’s Wholesale Club, Food Lion, Kroger, Piggly Wiggley, Publix, Safeway, Save-a-Lot, Sam’s Club, Sedanos, Sweetbay, Walmart, Western Beef, Whole Foods Market, or Winn-Dixie, shoppers have become more frugal in tough economic times.

Coupons are a quick and easy way to save money at the supermarket.  According to the Promotion Marketing Association, spending as little as 20 minutes a week clipping coupons can save the average family a $1,000 a year.

Many of my friends, co-workers and social networking acquaintances wonder how I save between 60 and 70 percent at Publix.  Although I accumulate printable coupons from the Internet, the Sunday newspaper remains my favorite.  In accumulating coupons from multiple papers – including the Spanish version as the coupons are generally different – I have several for use when an item goes on sale or becomes a “BOGO” free.

Coupons come in many varieties, the most common being the manufacturer’s coupon.  This coupon provides a discount on a particular product and is distributed directly by the manufacturer. Grocery stores accept manufacturers’ coupons because they receive reimbursement upon redemption.

Most people use the Sunday newspaper as their main source of coupons. While grocery retailers allocate about 85% of their coupon distribution to a free-standing insert, Internet distribution has grown faster than all other sources combined.  The most popular online printable coupon sites are www.smartsource.com, www.coupons.com, www.valpak.com, www.pgeverydaysolutions.com and www.redplum.com

In the last few years, online promotional codes have become increasingly popular providing incentives ranging from free shipping to a percentage off discount.  According to eMarketer, digital coupons have become so popular that 88.2 million shoppers were expected to use them in 2011.

Stores and manufacturers also send coupons to shoppers who personally request them.  Obtaining coupons from these sources is as simple as searching the Internet for your favorite brand or store and typing the term “coupon” into your browser.  (For instance, typing the term “Starbucks” and “coupon” yields approximately 641,000 results.)  Most companies have a separate section for coupons or special discounts.  Thereafter, it is simply a matter of printing the coupon for redemption at the retailer.

Whether you shop at Albertsons (www.albertsonsmarket.com), BJ’s Wholesale Club (www.bjs.com), Food Lion (www.foodlion.com), Kroger (www.kroger.com), Piggly Wiggly (www.pigglywiggley.com), Publix (www.publix.com), Safeway (www.safeway.com), Save-a-Lot (www.save-a-lot.com), Sam’s Club (www.samsclub.com), Sedanos (www.sedanos.com), Sweetbay (www.sweetbaysupermarket.com), Walmart (www.walmart.com), Western Beef (www.westernbeef.com), Whole Foods Market (www.wholefoodsmarket.com), or Winn-Dixie (www.winndixie.com), each of these retailers offer an online section for coupon savings and store discounts.  Shoppers visiting a store website need only direct themselves to the coupon section then click and print desired grocery coupons.

Thousands of websites exist that allow coupon users to buy, sell, and/or trade coupons.  Although illegal and frowned upon by eBay, this popular auction site has become number one in coupon sales.  Some of my personal favorites are www.supercouponing.com, www.retailmenot.com, www.coupondad.net, www.couponcabin.com, www.couponmom.com, and www.fatwallet.com

When it comes to “deal-of-the-day” discounts, www.groupon.com is fast becoming a leader while www.restaurant.com is my pick for restaurant gift certificates.  With more than 18,000 restaurants on the program nationally and more than 35,000 daily gift certificate options, Restaurant.com customers have saved more than $500 million through the gift certificate program.  Restaurant.com also offers deeply discounted promotional codes for loyal e-mail subscribers or Facebook friends.

In celebration of National Coupon Month, www.ilovecouponmonth.com – an online resource for coupon information, statistics, and savings tips created by www.couponsherpa.com – has provided 30 tried and true methods to maximize your shopping experience.

A common misconception among non-coupon users is that coupon shoppers have low incomes, are disadvantaged or are struggling financially in these tough economic times.  According to the Nielsen Company, a global leader in measurement and information, the biggest coupons users are college educated Caucasian women under the age of 54 with incomes in excess of $70,000 a year.

Coupons represent free money and additional income to those who indulge.  Quoting from Nielsen’s report, “the better educated and more affluent consumers are much better at looking for deals, as they recognize the value of money.”  Nothing can be further from the truth in these tough economic times where grocery bills account for nearly 11 percent of the average family budget.

While finding the right coupon for specific products is easy, using them to their full potential can be more difficult.  While coupons used on a regularly priced product might save a few cents, combining them with sales or BOGO’s can substantially increase your savings.  The savvy coupon shopper pays attention to normal product prices and only uses coupons on “stacked” specials resulting in huge savings.

To learn more about National Coupon Month, please visit http://www.nationalcouponmonth.com

To review Bill Lewis’ entire consumer protection series, visit www.williamlewis.us

__________________________________

William E. Lewis Jr. & Associates is a solutions based professional consulting firm specializing in the discriminating individual, business or governmental entity. To learn more, tune into “The Credit Report with Bill Lewis,” a daily forum for business and financial news, politics, economic trends, and cutting edge issues on AM 1470 WWNN.

Starbucks is More Than Coffee


Joining the political circuit is none other than Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz.  As part of his highly publicized blitz to end partisan gridlock in Washington D.C., Schultz will participate in a “Conversation with America” Town Hall meeting on Tuesday, September 6th.

The nationwide telephonic Town Hall is being organized by “No Labels,” a non-profit organization that describes itself as a citizen-led movement aimed at pressuring elected leaders to set aside partisan differences and focus on solving the nation’s problems.

In addition to Schultz, the Town Hall will include No Labels Co-Founders Mark McKinnon and John Avlon.  Maya MacGuineas, President of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, will also participate.

Schultz has written an open letter that will run as a full-page advertisement in the Sunday and Tuesday New York Times, and in the Tuesday USA Today.  In the letter, Schultz repeats his call for a boycott of political donations until the country’s leaders approve a “transparent, comprehensive, bipartisan debt-and-deficit package is reached that honestly, and fairly, sets America on a path to long-term financial health and security.”

Several large businesses including AOL, J.C. Penney, Pepsi, Whole Foods Market, the Walt Disney Company, J Crew, Zipcar, and NASDAQ have already taken the pledge. 

Moreover, over 1,800 individuals and nearly 300 pledges from business owners promising to do “everything possible” to accelerate job creation have been made.

In a letter released to all Starbucks gift card holders today, Schultz stated:

Dear Starbucks Friend and Fellow Citizen:

I love our country. And I am a beneficiary of the promise of America. But today, I am very concerned that at times I do not recognize the America that I love.

Like so many of you, I am deeply disappointed by the pervasive failure of leadership in Washington. And also like you, I am frustrated by our political leaders’ steadfast refusal to recognize that, for every day they perpetuate partisan conflict and put ideology over country, America and Americans suffer from the combined effects of paralysis and uncertainty. Americans can’t find jobs. Small businesses can’t get credit. And the fracturing of consumer confidence continues.

We are better than this.

Three weeks ago, I asked fellow business leaders to join me in urging the President and the Congress to put an end to partisan gridlock and, in its place, to set in motion an upward spiral of confidence. More than 100 business leaders representing American companies – large and small – joined me in signing a two-part pledge:

First, to withhold political campaign contributions until a transparent, comprehensive, bipartisan debt-and-deficit package is reached that honestly, and fairly, sets America on a path to long-term financial health and security. Second, to do all we can to break the cycle of economic uncertainty that grips our country by committing to accelerate investment in jobs and hiring.

In the weeks since then, I have been overwhelmed by the heartfelt stories of Americans from across the country, sharing their anguish over losing hope in the strongest and most galvanizing force of all – the American Dream. Some feel they have no voice. Others feel they no longer matter. And many feel they have been left behind.

We cannot let this stand.

Please join other concerned Americans and me on a national call-in conversation on Tuesday September 6th hosted by “No Labels,” a nonpartisan organization dedicated to fostering cooperative and more effective government. To learn more about the forum and the pledges, visit www.upwardspiral2011.org

America is at a fragile and critical moment in its history. We must restore hope in the American Dream. We must celebrate all that America stands for around the world. And while our Founding Fathers recognized the constructive value of political debate, we must send the message to today’s elected officials in a civil, respectful voice they hear and understand, that the time to put citizenship ahead of partisanship is now.

Yours is the voice that can help ignite the contagious upward spiral of confidence that our country desperately needs.

With great respect,

Howard Schultz

Chief Executive Officer, Starbucks Coffee Company

According to the Center for Responsive Politics, contributions from business political action committees totaled $334 million in the 2009-2010 cycle, while individual donations from the business community were about $1 billion, split almost equally between the Republican and Democratic parties.

Since 1994, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz has made campaign donations totaling $144,200, with $113,700 to Democratic candidates, $29,500 to special interest groups, and $1,000 to Republican candidates.

Interesting how this longtime supporter of the Democratic party is now attempting to become part of the process.

With 17,009 stores in 50 countries, including over 11,000 in the United States, over 1,000 in Canada, over 700 in the United Kingdom, and over 150 in Turkey, the Seattle, Washington, based Starbucks is the largest coffeehouse company in the world. 

Scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, September 6th, participants can RSVP at http://www.nolabels.org. The Town Hall meeting will be also streamed live.

September is National Coupon Month


Entering its 14th year, National Coupon Month serves as a reminder that clipping coupons is an easy and fun way to save at the supermarket.  Whether you shop at Albertsons, BJ’s Wholesale Club, Food Lion, Publix, Save-a-Lot, Sam’s Club, Sedanos, Sweetbay, Walmart or Winn-Dixie, shoppers have become more frugal in tough economic times.

Coupon distribution and use have substantially increased the last two years.  A recent study shows that almost 89 percent of Americans admitted using coupons when shopping in 2010.  With over 175 billion coupons offered by retailers in the first half of 2011, this growth builds upon the record-breaking trends of 2009 and 2010 when 311 billion and 330 billion coupons were distributed, respectively.

Coupons are a quick and easy way to save money at the supermarket.  According to the Promotion Marketing Association, spending as little as 20 minutes a week clipping coupons can save the average family a $1,000 a year.

Many of my friends, co-workers and social networking acquaintances wonder how I save between 60 and 70 percent at Publix.  Although I accumulate printable coupons from the Internet, the Sunday newspaper remains my favorite.  In accumulating coupons from multiple papers – including the Spanish version as the coupons are generally different – I have several for use when an item goes on sale or becomes a “BOGO” free.

Coupons come in many varieties, the most common being the manufacturer’s coupon.  This coupon provides a discount on a particular product and is distributed directly by the manufacturer. Grocery stores accept manufacturers’ coupons because they receive reimbursement upon redemption.

Most people use the Sunday newspaper as their main source of coupons. While grocery retailers allocate about 85% of their coupon distribution to a free-standing insert, Internet distribution has grown faster than all other sources combined.  The most popular online printable coupon sites are www.smartsource.com, www.coupons.com, www.valpak.com, www.pgeverydaysolutions.com and www.redplum.com

In the last few years, online promotional codes have become increasingly popular providing incentives ranging from free shipping to a percentage off discount.  According to eMarketer, digital coupons have become so popular that 88.2 million shoppers were expected to use them in 2011.

Stores and manufacturers also send coupons to shoppers who personally request them.  Obtaining coupons from these sources is as simple as searching the Internet for your favorite brand or store and typing the term “coupon” into your browser.  (For instance, typing the term “Starbucks” and “coupon” yields approximately 641,000 results.)  Most companies have a separate section for coupons or special discounts.  Thereafter, it is simply a matter of printing the coupon for redemption at the retailer.

Whether you shop at Albertsons (www.albertsonsmarket.com), BJ’s Wholesale Club (www.bjs.com), Food Lion (www.foodlion.com), Publix (www.publix.com), Save-a-Lot (www.save-a-lot.com), Sam’s Club (www.samsclub.com), Sedanos (www.sedanos.com), Sweetbay (www.sweetbaysupermarket.com), Walmart (www.walmart.com), or Winn-Dixie (www.winndixie.com), each of these retailers offer an online section for coupon savings and store discounts.  Shoppers visiting a store website need only direct themselves to the coupon section then click and print desired grocery coupons.

Thousands of websites exist that allow coupon users to buy, sell, and/or trade coupons.  Although illegal and frowned upon by eBay, this popular auction site has become number one in coupon sales.  Some of my personal favorites are www.supercouponing.com, www.retailmenot.com, www.coupondad.net, www.couponcabin.com, www.couponmom.com, and www.fatwallet.com

When it comes to “deal-of-the-day” discounts, www.groupon.com is fast becoming a leader while www.restaurant.com is my pick for restaurant gift certificates.  With more than 18,000 restaurants on the program nationally and more than 35,000 daily gift certificate options, Restaurant.com customers have saved more than $500 million through the gift certificate program.  Restaurant.com also offers deeply discounted promotional codes for loyal e-mail subscribers or Facebook friends.

In celebration of National Coupon Month, www.ilovecouponmonth.com – an online resource for coupon information, statistics, and savings tips created by www.couponsherpa.com – has provided 30 tried and true methods to maximize your shopping experience.

A common misconception among non-coupon users is that coupon shoppers have low incomes, are disadvantaged or are struggling financially in these tough economic times.  According to the Nielsen Company, a global leader in measurement and information, the biggest coupons users are college educated Caucasian women under the age of 54 with incomes in excess of $70,000 a year.

Coupons represent free money and additional income to those who indulge.  Quoting from Nielsen’s report, “the better educated and more affluent consumers are much better at looking for deals, as they recognize the value of money.”  Nothing can be further from the truth in these tough economic times where grocery bills account for nearly 11 percent of the average family budget.

While finding the right coupon for specific products is easy, using them to their full potential can be more difficult.  While coupons used on a regularly priced product might save a few cents, combining them with sales or BOGO’s can substantially increase your savings.  The savvy coupon shopper pays attention to normal product prices and only uses coupons on “stacked” specials resulting in huge savings.

To learn more about National Coupon Month, please visit http://www.nationalcouponmonth.com

To review Bill Lewis’ entire consumer protection series, visit www.williamlewis.us

Starbucks Introduces New Mobile Coffee Application


Are you addicted to Starbucks?  If so, you will find of interest a new mobile application created just for you.

Earlier today, Starbucks took to their blog announcing a new mobile app they have created.  The posting was logged from author “April F” the brand’s Director of Global Mobile Beverage

The idea behind the new app is simple –  Starbucks has placed two baristas on scooters in every square mile of seven of the country’s largest cities.  Their main goal?  To deliver coffee at the whim of your GPS enabled smartphone.

With a few swipes on your phone’s screen, with the Mobile Pour app, you can have coffee delivered to you within minutes.  The novelty of this mobile application is rather intriguing, considering the commentary stating “There is a Starbucks on every corner.” 

This mobile application shows Starbucks knows their brand and is willing to make light of their role in the coffee industry.  Interesting to introduce such a new mobile application on April Fool’s Day….

The full blog post, should Starbucks remove it:

Instructional Animation: