Starbucks heads south of the border

The storefront of Starbucks' Hear Music Coffeehouse CD burning service in Santa Monica, Calif.

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Lisa Napoli: Starbucks' stock has been smelling a bit like that coffee pot that's been sitting on the burner too long here in the office — it's down around 30 percent since last November.

The coffee empire is responding by opening stores like mad — 2,400 of them, spreading the good gospel of caffeine overseas... like to Mexico.

From the Americas Desk at WLRN, Marketplace's Dan Grech says Tijuana's now in the crosshairs, with the first of 100 stores set to open later this summer.


Dan Grech: Every year 20 million cars travel between Tijuana and San Diego, making it the busiest border crossing in the world. Starbucks is frothing at that potential market.

Bryant Simon is writing the upcoming book Consuming Starbucks.

Bryant Simon: You've got two markets going: You have a fair number of Americans who like to go to Starbucks when they're abroad, to the familiar — and you have the aspiring Mexican middle class.

For traveling Americans, Starbucks is comfort food. For Mexicans, Starbucks is an indulgence.

Simon: What I observed, I went to Guadalajara and watched people valet park to go to Starbucks. It is distinctly a luxury product.

Starbucks isn't the only U.S. company cashing in on the pesos and dollars. Tijuana's also seen the recent introduction of two other brand names: Home Depot and Wal-Mart.

I'm Dan Grech for Marketplace.

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