Editorial: Starbucks site is a good choice

Published 9:24 am Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Maid-Rite in Albert Lea?

Our city would welcome the addition of the restaurant, particularly to the former Starbucks location.

What’s it going to take? Probably a local who wants to invest in a franchise restaurant and sees Maid-Rite as a good choice.

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We hate to put in such a plug for moving into a location, but that former Starbucks site is a good one if you know anything about how freeway traffic operates.

The goal with locating off an interstate exit is to avoid left turns across the heavy traffic of the intersecting road by being on the right. When people come on southbound I-35 taking Exit 12, the first thing on the right is a truck dealership. However, many motorists keep going and the next places on the right are the Albert Lea Inn, Taco John’s, the vacant Starbucks store, Perkins Restaurant and so forth. It’s a good, high-traffic, easy-to-get-to location.

Just look at Trail’s Travel Center. If you are coming out of Iowa northbound on I-35, it’s super-easy to reach. Of course, the castle size of the truck stop is easy to spot and that helps draw curious southbound traffic, too.

Starbucks didn’t leave for lack of profits. The company left Albert Lea and Faribault because of company branding, not wanting to be deemed as another freeway stop. Starbucks wants to recapture “the Starbucks experience.”

We also wouldn’t be surprised if other businesses, even Albert Lea ones, might want to take advantage of the freeway-friendly location.