Thursday, April 02, 2009

Starbucks ends ban of Vail paper

Starbucks has dropped its ban of one of Vail's two free daily newspapers, ending what had become a venti sized controversy at the Colorado ski resort.

The 25-year-old Vail Daily, owned by Swift Newspapers of Reno, Nev., struck an agreement with the local management of Starbucks to exclude the town's new free daily, the Vail Mountaineer, from its cafes.

When Mountaineer owner Jim Pavelich learned of the ban, he began to personally hand out copies of his paper in front of Starbucks, telling residents that his paper was under attack by two big corporations, Starbucks and Swift. He also told readers of the Mountaineer about the ban under a front page story with the headline "Corporate greed."

It didn't take more than a day or two for the ban to fall apart. Employees of Starbucks apparently felt sympathetic for Pavelich, who continued to pass out newspapers during a blinding snowstorm. According to the Mountaineer, they brought him hot coffee and gloves. Soon the ban was dropped.

The Vail Daily did not report on the Starbucks controversy. But in an April Fool's Day article, it attempted to make fun of the Mountaineer. The fictitious article claimed Pavelich had bought a stake in the Vail Daily because “I want to make sure they in fact do all those dastardly things I have been saying they are doing ... I’d sleep a little better if the rotten things I’m saying about them were actually true.”