Detroit has always been an intriguing city to me; for as long as I can remember downtown Detroit has always been crappy and no matter what they do, it will probably always stay that way. One problem I find with a lot of American cities is how money gets poured into the suburbs and they become beautiful places to live, but living downtown is often unheard of in many American cities for many middle class citizens because of the high poverty and high crime that downtown areas often see.
The other day I came across a statistic that asked why Detroit has only 6 Starbucks coffee shops. After a Google search, I came across this Detroit News article that describes how at the time there were one fewer Starbucks in Detroit than there were in the Detroit Metropolitan Airport and 41 fewer than San Jose, California which is about the same size as Detroit.
To put this more into perspective I looked up the number of Starbucks there are in Toronto and found there are 63 Starbucks in Toronto. The population of the core Toronto area is somewhere around 2 million, so it is over double the size of Detroit’s 900,000, but it’s still staggering how few Starbucks there are in Detroit. I also looked up Pittsburgh Pennsylvania which seems to be a blue collared city, and found that in this city of ~340,000, there are 20 Starbucks.
After doing a couple more searches, I came across a blog posting and I found this reader comment to be interesting:
“Detroit can be proud to be a blue collar town that caters to the disenfranchised and adopts very liberal social policies. It can be proud it is not filled with Latte-sipping yuppies in black turtlenecks tapping on their overpriced Apple laptops and patting themselves on the back for buying “fair trade” beans as they glow in their privileged sense of entitlement. It can be proud it is a town that actually produces things, that sweats and lifts and ends its days with beer and starts them with black sludge in a thermos.”
Another thing I found interesting while I was at the Detroit airport earlier this year is that they seem to have 2 languages on all the signs and on the speaker system; English and Chinese. I found that interesting. At first I thought maybe there were a lot of Chinese people moving to Detroit, but after realizing that this makes no sense at all, I came to realize that there are lots of international flight connections going through Detroit; especially flights heading to Asia. So I believe this is the reason for the Chinese signs although I was too lazy or disinterested tonight to actually try to look this up to confirm this.