Peet’s at Peet’s or Peet’s at Zach’s?



To the Editors:

The Peet’s Corporation has asked the Ukiah City Council not to ban it from our downtown (See UDJ Article Below). The choice could not be clearer. We have access to Peet’s fresh-brewed coffees at Schat’s Bakery downtown, owned by Zachery Schat and his family. Now the Peet’s Corporation, traded on the NASDAQ stock exchange, wants the right to move into our downtown.

There is only one difference between the two companies: who gets the profits. Each business will have a store, employees, pay sales tax, etc. But the Peet’s Corporation will take their profits and distribute them to shareholders all over the world… to who knows who, who knows where. Schat’s Bakery, a local neighborhood business owned and operated by the 5th generation family of Dutch bakers, will keep the profits here in our community to keep circulating and building our local economy.

I’ve heard rumors that our City Council is leaning towards allowing chains and franchises into our downtown because the “local merchants want it.” But, wait. This is a democracy. Who decides? Our small number of downtown merchants or our large number of citizens who live and work and vote and shop here?

Let your voice be heard.

Company asks not to be labeled as ‘formula fast-food’


The Daily Journal

THURSDAY, MAY 26, 2011

A representative of Peet’s Coffee & Tea wrote a letter to the Ukiah City Council recently to request that the company not be excluded from opening downtown as part of a “formula fast-food” ban.

“Our entire business is based on relationships — with the farmers who grow our coffees and teas; with our employees who serve our customers; and with the communities with which we do business,” wrote Carol Mazzetti, director of Real Estate for Peet’s, in a letter addressed to the council and City Manager Jane Chambers dated Feb. 7, 2011. “The phrase formula fast-food’ conjures up notions of an impersonal, corporate and cookie-cutter’ approach to doing business. We are a local business — our company headquarters are located in Emeryville — with local values and a commitment to our local communities.”

A call to Peet’s corporate office seeking comment on whether the company was interested in opening a location in Ukiah was not returned Wednesday.

Currently, the Downtown Zoning Code prepared by the Planning Commission and being considered for adoption by the council includes a ban on formula fast-food restaurants — establishments that have standardized menus and architecture, and serve meals that are “quickly made, of low nutritional value and inexpensive.”

The commission had previously considered having exemptions for coffeeshops, ice cream parlors, bakeries and hot dog stands — which would have allowed places like Peet’s, Coldstone Creamery or Dunkin’ Donuts to open — but eventually voted to remove all exemptions.

Strong opinions both for and against the exemptions and the ban itself have been expressed by local business owners and residents, and more people spoke Tuesday during a council workshop at the Ukiah Valley Conference Center to discuss the code.

“You are trying to do social engineering with land zoning,” said Jim Mayfield, owner of Rainbow Agricultural Services, referring to the stated intent of some on the commission to battle obesity and other health problems by reducing the amount of junk food available. “Let the people decide with their dollar and with their vote what they want; legislating morality is a slippery slope. We need to attract any dollar we can downtown, because right now, it’s pretty empty.”

Charlie Seltzer said he supported having the ban on fast-food chains for three reasons: “it would improve health, create a stronger economy and help protect Ukiah’s small-town character.

“People eat what’s available, and chains don’t create business, they siphon it from other places,” Seltzer said.

Lisa Mammina said she was in favor of any business “adding tax dollars” to the local economy, and that keeping businesses out of downtown encouraged sprawl.

Planning Commission Chair Judy Pruden said the ban focused on a “very small area,” and that the commission wanted Ukiah to “put our best foot forward,” especially on Perkins Street, which is most people’s introduction to the city.

“If you want a Dunkin’ Donuts on our gateway, so be it — that’s up to the council,” Pruden said.

Another workshop was being discussed for next month, but Planning Director Charley Stump said the council would be very busy with budget discussions, and he wasn’t sure if a workshop could be scheduled then.

Justine Frederiksen can be reached at, or 468-3521.


I moved from Berkeley to Mendocino six years ago. A few years before I left Berkeley, the citizenry patronizing upper Solano Avenue waged a vocal but ultimately unsuccessful protest to keep Starbuck’s from opening a shop just a few doors down from Peet’s Coffee, which was considered a local establishment because in the beginning of the Peet’s empire decades ago that particular Peet’s was the second shop Monsieur Peet opened. I found it a fascinating absurdist drama, since Peet’s had long before the fracas become a huge chain, with every Peet’s shop roughly resembling every other Peet’s shop, yet compared to Starbuck’s… And it was said that if Peet’s had not grown into a large chain, it never would have survived the competition from the likes of Starbuck’s. Within days of the opening of the new Starbuck’s, the place was packed, as was Peet’s. One would hope that people will continue to go to Schat’s for the great bread and food, regardless of what kind of coffee they carry, and that eventually Schat’s will switch to an even better cuppa joe.

    According to Wikipedia:

    The original Starbucks was opened in Pike Place Market in Seattle, Washington, in 1971 by three partners: English teacher Jerry Baldwin, history teacher Zev Siegel, and writer Gordon Bowker. The three were inspired by Alfred Peet, whom they knew personally, to open their first store in Pike Place Market to sell high-quality coffee beans and equipment. The original Starbucks location was at 2000 Western Avenue from 1971–1976. That store then moved to 1912 Pike Place; it is still open. During their first year of operation, they purchased green coffee beans from Peet’s, then began buying directly from growers.

    Entrepreneur Howard Schultz joined the company in 1983, and, after a trip to Milan, Italy, advised that the company should sell coffee and espresso drinks as well as beans. The owners rejected this idea, believing that getting into the beverage business would distract the company from its primary focus. To them, coffee was something to be prepared in the home. Certain that there was much money to be made selling drinks to on-the-go Americans, Schultz started the Il Giornale coffee bar chain in 1985.

    In 1984, the original owners of Starbucks, led by Baldwin, took the opportunity to purchase Peet’s (Baldwin still works there today). In 1987, they sold the Starbucks chain to Schultz’s Il Giornale, which rebranded the Il Giornale outlets as Starbucks and quickly began to expand. Starbucks opened its first locations outside Seattle at Waterfront Station in Vancouver, British Columbia, and Chicago, Illinois, that same year. At the time of its initial public offering on the stock market in 1992, Starbucks had grown to 165 outlets.

Which makes it all the more absurd that the old lefties fought so hard to keep Starbuck’s out of the hood when Starbuck’s already owned the coffee house where the lefties hung out. I suppose that top-of-Solano Peet’s and the very first Peet’s around the corner from Chez Panisse were there before Starbuck’s bought out Peet. I dunno. Myth and history meet again.