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Starbucks is coming to Caledonian Road – but independent rival insists: ‘They don’t frighten me’

PUBLISHED: 07:55 02 August 2017 | UPDATED: 08:21 02 August 2017

'Starbucks doesn't frighten me.' Metin Gok, owner of Kafeteryam sandwich bar in Caledonian Road. Picture: James Morris

'Starbucks doesn't frighten me.' Metin Gok, owner of Kafeteryam sandwich bar in Caledonian Road. Picture: James Morris

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The chain store takeover of Caledonian Road continues. Coffee giant Starbucks has confirmed it will open a new shop across the road from Caledonian Road Tube station this month.

Starbucks is opening in the vacant unit next to Nisa in Caledonian Road. Picture: James MorrisStarbucks is opening in the vacant unit next to Nisa in Caledonian Road. Picture: James Morris

It’s a sign of the continued gentrification of the Cally’s northern end. In recent years, Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Costa have all opened around the Underground station.

Metin Gok is owner of the independent Kafeteryam sandwich bar next to the station exit. With Starbucks opening directly across the road, and Costa two doors down, he is now in competition with multinational giants.

But he is ready for the fight.

“I don’t feel it will affect me,” he told the Gazette. “We do coffee, they do coffee. But we have a different clientele compared with all the chains around here. We specialise in coffee but also custom-made sandwiches. It’s not a place where you grab something off the shelf. We have a personal touch.

“I have been here since 2009, and I have seen all the chain businesses – Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Costa, Nisa and now Starbucks – come in. So it doesn’t frighten me at all. Even if another chain came in after Starbucks, I wouldn’t worry.

“In any case, I’ve always believed in the fact that competition among businesses is healthy.”

Metin even suggested chain stores are a welcome addition to the Cally.

“Since 2009, Caledonian Road has developed in many areas,” he said. “Not just with shops but also things like student accommodation. It’s a positive. Compare it now to what it was in 2009. It was a ghost town. No one was about.”

Starbucks could not give an opening date for the shop, which is nearly fitted out.

A spokesperson said: “We are excited to confirm that we will be opening a new Starbucks store on Caledonian Road in August – directly across from Caledonian Road Tube station – so we are looking forward to bringing our great coffee to local residents and those travelling through.

“Together with our licensed partner, Arabica Coffee, the new store will create 15 new job opportunities. We’ll be kicking off on opening day with live music, coffee tastings and goody bags for the first 100 customers.”

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