Driven to Espresso: Drive-through Coffee Stands in the Northwest

If you think coffee culture is cool, you have come to the right place. I have loads of information and opinions to share about espresso in the Pacific Northwest, especially the drive-through phenomenon.

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Location: Edmonds, WA, United States

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Nordstrom says no

Part of the drive-through boom, if not all of it, evolved from the sidewalk carts that began in Seattle right around 1980. As a matter of fact, it was that year, I'm told, that Nordstrom began operating their espresso cart on the sidewalk near their front door. There is a possibility that it was the very first cart, although people's memories don't seem perfectly clear about that.

Because of their pioneering move, I felt the cart that they still operate to this day should be pictured in Fast Lane with a brief description of how they became that pioneer.

But now, I'm rethinking that. Upon contacting their public relations department and describing my documentary book, I was told that if any photo was to be included it would need to be provided by themselves, and that they didn't have any photos to provide. Huh? It's a photography book and I'm the photographer. Why would I want them to provide a photo? And since they don't want to provide a photo, I'd have to assume they just don't want to be in the book.

Okay by me. But in fact, I only told them about my book as a courtesy. I don't legally require a property release for an editorial use of an image of their cart on the public sidewalk, but the more I think about it, this is one of the reasons I'm interested in drive-through stands (and by extension sidewalk carts) in the first place. They represent a freer spirit and human-scaled type of entrepreneurship that deserves documentation and celebration. Large corporations such as Nordstrom, and obviously Starbucks, get enough attention elsewhere and they too often drive individualism out of our culture.

So Nordstrom: I say no, too.


Blogger MISSION said...

Nordstrom allowed a cart to be outside of their store. They did not own it. Remember it was under the monorail. I used to mountain climb with one of the owners. They were a couple who had retired from being flight attendents. I wish I remembered their names. I was going to have the 2nd coffee cart in Seattle but chickened out. They were *extremely* helpful and willing to help anyone interested.

9/11/08, 6:45 AM  

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