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December 8 2021 12:24 PM ˚
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Starbucks downtown: Welcomed by locals, merges modern with traditional

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A photo of the new Starbucks in downtown Amman, which opened on October 30, 2021. (Photos: Zaina Zinati/Jordan News)
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AMMAN — Up the cobble-stoned streets of the old downtown, an array of colors decorate the avenues, with old shops lined up in unison along the pavements. The aroma of spices and oud perfumes in the air gives the neighborhood an authentic feel of a traditional Amman. While walking along the street to the famous Hashem Restaurant, a foreign site can be found wedged between old architectural shops; a modern Starbucks. اضافة اعلان

While Starbucks has not been open for long, it has already gained traction among tourists and locals alike. Local shop owners are excited for this new modern presence in the historically traditional area. 



 Ismael Al-Bawab (Abu Ibrahim) has been working in the same spot downtown for 45 years, selling miscellaneous items.

Ismael Al-Bawab, “Abu Ibrahim,” has been working in the same spot downtown for 45 years, selling miscellaneous items including batteries, duct tape, and stationary. Bawab is familiar with the evolution of the street and mentioned that the new Starbucks had taken the place of a post office. 


A photo of the new Starbucks in downtown Amman, which opened on October 30, 2021. (Photos: Zaina Zinati/Jordan News)

“This new place has some things that other places don’t have. So, because of this, the foreigners come here. … This street that we’re on right now, it’s all local restaurants, this (Starbucks) is the only foreign thing in the street,” said Bawab, in an interview with Jordan News.
 
“This is what the tourists like, and that’s okay,” he added
Bawab expressed that he’s indifferent to the recent expansion justifying the modernization as inevitable. 

Hasan Al-Omal also works downtown and shares the same feelings as Bawab towards the new coffee house. 

“We don’t get bothered by it. You have to consider it from this aspect. For the foreigners, this is something they look for. You can’t force any person to do something they don’t want to or to impose anything on anyone,” said Omal in an interview with Jordan News. 

Omal worked right outside the entrance to the Starbucks and shared that some people will buy a coffee from the Starbucks and take it to another local coffee house and sit there. According to him, this way, you have one customer for two shops. 

Inside the Starbucks, the modernity is striking; with one foot in and one foot out, the feeling of straddling two time periods is strong. 

One of the employees explains that the store has only been open since October 30 but has received positive feedback from the locals and the other coffee houses in the area. 


A photo of the new Starbucks in downtown Amman, which opened on October 30, 2021. (Photos: Zaina Zinati/Jordan News)

“We’ve been open for less than two weeks, and ‘thank God’ we have been doing extremely well. We have foreigners come in, locals come in, and we haven’t had any issues whatsoever. It’s nice to have this Starbucks here because it is something new, but in the old town,” said the employee.
 
The employee added that the special atmosphere and views are what attract people to this new Starbucks. 

Directly across is the distinguished Jafra, which is a staple in the community. A steep ascent up the marble stairs leads you into Jafra. The lights, decor, and coffee are the epitome of the old town. 

“Starbucks doesn’t have argileh, and a lot of people will come to downtown for that,” said Bashar, the manager at Jafra, in an interview with Jordan News. 
Bashar has worked at Jafra for seven years and sees this step as positive for the area. 

“We are a coffee house, so we are completely different than Starbucks. We are not a cafe. Jafra is a place people come to eat, have argileh, drink coffee, so we aren’t just one thing,” said Bashar.

Bashar added that they get groups of people who come and stay and enjoy their time for hours, which contrasts to the time spent by people at Starbucks. 
“With Starbucks it’s different. They have their customers. It could be a good thing, you know, to have a Starbucks here that brings in a lot of tourism and is also within the old town. It’s as if you can have a bit of the old and the new, and that’s fair. This could be a really good thing for the city and downtown. It’s become a mix of both worlds,” he concluded.


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