Starbucks hoping to open first New Jersey Bayshore location in Atlantic Highlands
It's been rumored to happen for some time, and now it appears it may become a reality. At least, that's what Starbucks is hoping for.
According to The Two River Times, The Borough of Atlantic Highlands has "cleared a path for Starbucks to bring the first of its cafés to the Bayshore’s Route 36 corridor." And that's a big deal for this part of New Jersey and the northernmost part of the Jersey Shore.
Currently, Starbucks doesn't have a location in this region, which stretches along the coastlines of the Sandy Hook and Raritan Bays. The proposed area is along route 36 North near First Avenue in Atlantic Highlands.
This spot is currently occupied by a shuttered Burger King, which closed its doors in the summer of 2020. Ever since that closure, many locals have speculated as to what might occupy the former fast-food joint.
Perhaps one of the most talked-about possibilities on social media was of a Trader Joe's moving in. Although that did get locals talking, this particular plot of land is simply too small to support a store of that nature.
Other rumors included a dollar-type general store, another fast-food joint, or a relocated Dunkin. That latter rumor was related to an existing Dunkin location on the other side of route 36 that lacked a drive-thru. Since then, however, that particular Dunkin location on the southern side of 36 renovated its existing store and added a drive-thru for its customers.
Prior to this, rumors of a Starbucks looking to move in have also swirled around. But up until recently, it was just that.
Now that the Atlantic Highlands planning board has given the green light to proceed, it's looking more likely that this area of the Bayshore region will finally get what it's been waiting for.
Concerns about Starbucks moving in
One of the biggest issues raised within the area is the impact a new Starbucks may have on local businesses. Although this concern is valid, it most likely wouldn't change much and have a minimal impact at best.
The primary reason has to do with who Starbucks' primary customers would be. For the most part, their customers would be those commuting and passing by along Route 36. Locals would likely remain committed to the small local businesses they've grown to know and love.
For example, one of the most popular coffee shops in Atlantic Highlands, First Cup Coffee, would probably continue to thrive thanks to the relationship they have with locals and the product it offers.
This is commonly the case with most small businesses in downtown areas. The chains are usually located along major highways where the typical passerby is more likely to stop. And it's a smart practice for towns to want these chains for that very reason.
As much as we'd like those driving by to stop at a local mom-and-pop location, they're much more likely to visit something familiar to them. And if time is of the essence, leaving the highway in search of something less familiar to stop at is probably not going to happen.
A first for the route 36 Bayshore region
Regardless of what ultimately moves in, it'll be a vast improvement for an abandoned building along a major highway. Based on the chatter across social media, a Starbucks finally entering this region of New Jersey would be welcomed.
So for all those who visit this particular Jersey Shore region for vacation and weekend trips, get ready. A Starbucks along Route 36 in the Bayshore region might soon become a reality.