Starbucks coming soon to Lower Valley

PROSSER - What has been just a rumor for years is finally coming true. Starbucks is coming to Prosser.

Construction on a retail strip mall started last May at the intersection of Wine Country Road and Merlot Drive. The building being constructed will house three retail stores and a Starbucks, according to Victor Gabbard, owner of Victor Gabbard Construction. It's this firm that is building the strip mall. "The mall will be 5,900 square feet," Gabbard said.

Also on the site will be a Chevron gas station and convenience store.

Haley Drage, a Starbucks representative, said the new Starbucks in Prosser should be open in October 2006. "The store will have a drive thru attached to it also," she confirmed.

Drage didn't have any other information about stores possibly being opened in Grandview or Sunnyside, but added Starbucks is always looking for good, new locations.

"We will welcome them with open arms," Jim Milne, executive director of the Prosser Chamber of Commerce, said about Starbucks coming to Prosser. "New businesses to the area are a good thing. They bring in jobs and tax revenues."

Milne said Starbucks has a proven record of drawing people off the highway to stop in for a coffee.

"This will give people another opportunity to introduce themselves to our town," Milne added. "We're excited about it."

Some people might not be too excited about Starbucks coming to town.

Jen Marshall, owner of Jen's Java Juice, isn't so worried about Starbucks. "I have a different clientele than what would go to a Starbucks," she said. Still, she admits, "It's going to hurt business for someone."

Marshall said there are seven coffee stands and shops in Prosser. "It's like a pie," she explained. "If people keep taking pieces of the pie, there won't be any left."

This will be Starbucks first jump into the Lower Valley. They have several stores in the Tri-Cities and Yakima.


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