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New Spring Street coffee bar 'not that worried' about incoming Starbucks

By Hayley Fox
Published: Wednesday, August 08, 2012, at 01:47PM
Ulysses Romero

The owner of Tierra Mia says his coffee will speak for itself against the incoming Starbucks.

Tierra Mia, a "Latin coffee concept" shop, recently opened on Spring Street in DTLA and owner Ulysses Romero says so far, most customers appear to be "coffee purists" -- choosing the standard brew over a specialty drink. Romero said his small chain roasts its own beans and extensively trains its baristas, so he's "not that worried" about how future neighbor, Starbucks, will affect business.

"In some ways I kind of welcome it, because we produce a product that's far better than what they do," he said.

Brigham Yen reports that the new Starbucks is slated to move in on the corner of 6th and Spring streets on the ground floor of the Hayward Hotel. The music store Stereoline which will be moving from the spot, is relocating to Broadway, according to Yen.

Morris Aghaei, owner of Stereoline, confirmed the move and said as far as he knew, Starbucks is expected to open in the early portion of next year.

At the time of publication, Starbucks had not independently confirmed that it was moving into this space.

Romero said that while the new international chain's location may offer customers more space or more available seating, he believes in the end, "the cups will speak for themselves."

"I think our offering is better," Romero said.

Romero told Blogdowntown last month that his original concept was to bring "quality coffee" to Hispanic neighborhoods in L.A., and said he thinks many people have gotten tired of chain coffee shops, so Tierra Mia produces "unique" alternatives.

In addition to basic coffee, Tierra Mia became known at the store's other four locations for decadent drinks such as the Mocha Mexicano and Horchata Latte. In its opening week Downtown, Romero says sales are doing slightly better than the Tierra openings in South Gate and Huntington Park, with mornings being a little busier than the rest of the day.

Much of his business comes from foot traffic and personal recommendations, Romero said, adding that word-of-mouth is the "best way to grow in my opinion."

"Ive never been one to get a real big return from fliering or ads or that type of thing," he said.

Tierra Mia is now open seven days a week from 6:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. in the bottom of the Bartlett Building.

Tierra Mia is located at 653 S. Spring Street


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