Protesters: Disguised Starbucks is 'deceiving'

Protesters: Disguised Starbucks is 'deceiving'
A protester named Kimmy holds up her sign outside the new Starbucks store aka 15th Avenue Coffee and Tea outlet.
SEATTLE - Donning green aprons, balloons and big smiles you might think the group outside the new 15th Avenue Coffee and Tea outlet on Seattle’s Capitol Hill on Friday was part of the PR team launching the new shop.

You’d be wrong.

The coffee shop is actually a Starbucks and these folks are actually protesters worried the corporation is trying to trick people into thinking the new store is local.

"I thought I knew what local coffee was until today," said Kimmy Kitinski. "And now because of the research Starbucks has done at Victrolla and Smith, they’ve given me real coffee."

With a big smile Kimmy holds a sign reading "You can’t fake local."

Next to her is a woman calling herself Susan B Local holding a sign that says "Corporations are neighbors too."

She is willing to admit the protesters are being ironic. "Its absolutely a wolf in sheep’s clothing," she says.

But many people passing by don't seem to get it.

"The irony was lost on me apparently," said Mike Kitson after being told the green-aproned sign-wavers weren’t actually part of the Starbuck’s launch team.

Other customers walk right past the protesters and into the new shop.

"Its wonderful, the creation of the tea, the way everything is set up…its really nice," said Addy Haynes while waiting for her Tazo Tea.

Another customer pointed to the community table as something other businesses should consider adopting.

Back outside, Susan B Local gets a thumbs-up from a woman who clearly gets the joke.

"I don’t think there’s anything wrong with opening up a Starbucks on this block and saying you are a Starbucks - absolutely, free enterprise, go for it," she says. "But this is deceiving."

Starbucks, for its part, says it's not trying to deceive anyone and the company logo is obvious on signage through out the coffee shop.

The company tells KOMO News it has plans for two more neighborhood-specific coffee shops in Seattle. How customers here react will help determine how much further the idea goes.

That, says Susan B Local, is all she wants. "I know there are going to be people who talk about this. They are going to think about this, and that’s all that we can hope for."