So why are so many Tijuana locals riled up about Starbucks? Because in typical Tijuana style, the city already beat Starbucks at its own game. D'Volada, founded by a Tijuana family in 2000, started as a direct copy of the Starbucks formula. It now has 64 stores in Mexico and, in a move of reverse globalization, two across the border in San Ysidro and Chula Vista. (An L.A. store is allegedly in the works.) Few thought Starbucks would bother with Tijuana because D'Volada was already, in essence, a Mexicanized Starbucks, serving $1 coffee and using milder beans.
So part of the sadness of Starbucks Tijuana is the threat it poses to D'Volada, a "glocal" success story now tightly woven into Tijuana's urban fabric. Even worse, D'Volada shops are franchised by a family-run company; the Starbucks outlets in Mexico are part of the empire of Carlos Slim, the telecom tycoon and rival to Bill Gates for the "richest man in the world" crown.