Between cash, lunch and an errand, I walked the full length of the Irvine Spectrum today, and realized there will soon be 7 coffee shops in or near the shopping center—and 4 of them are Starbucks.

It opened with just one: a Diedrich Coffee, attached to Barnes & Noble.

Phase 2 (from the movie theaters to the carousel) added a Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf.

Phase 3 (from the carousel to the ferris wheel) doubled the number, adding a Kelly’s Coffee & Fudge, and a Starbucks inside Barnes & Noble, which moved into the new section.

Somewhere around then the Diedrich closed. Without the bookstore traffic, it was off in a corner where only people going to restaurants would see it.

Then they put in a Nordstrom, with a Nordstrom e-Bar.

Then they extended the mall past the Nordstrom, put a Target at the end, and put a Starbucks in the Target.

Then they built an apartment complex across the street, and put a Starbucks in the apartment complex.

Now they’ve gone back to the first section, adding a new row of shops in front of the movie theater. And they’re filling in a corner long left vacant…with another Starbucks.

3 thoughts on “Full-Spectrum Coffee

  1. The 3rd Street Promenade in Santa Monica has:

    A Hear Music/Starbucks (between Broadway and Santa Monica)
    A Starbucks (between Santa Monica and Arizona)
    A Starbucks (on Wilshire between 3rd and 4th)
    A Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf (between Arizona and Wilshire)
    A Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf (on Santa Monica between 3rd and 2nd)
    A Borders (between Broadway and Santa Monica)
    A Barnes and Noble (between Arizona and Wilshire)

    So maybe 7 is the magic number, although I’m probably forgetting one. I’m not a coffee drinker.

  2. A few months(?) ago, I read an article in the LA Times about Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf. They mentioned that, so far, no one has found the saturation point for the coffee shop market. They described an area in Santa Monica, quite possibly the 3rd Street Promenade, with tons of coffee shops that, rather than crowding each other out, were all profitable.

    Hmm, there’s a Coffee Bean on the pier, too, right? It’s not exactly in the mall, but it’s a walkable distance.

  3. I’ll take your word for the Coffee Bean on the pier. My time in Santa Monica is 90+% work-related, and again, I don’t drink coffee.

    The Hear Music just went in not more than 2 years ago, and they seem to be doing fine. And if it’s not directly next to the Borders, it’s close enough that I can’t picture off the top of my head what store is in between.

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