By Simone Kelly-Brown


I’m realizing that I really do need an intervention for my addiction. I didn’t think it would get so bad … really! However, I have to admit that I’m hooked on the newest ‘crack’. Sadly for you, if you’re not careful, you might end up like me shaking and shivering for your next hit. Beware, because the newest crack house is probably in a five-mile radius of everyone reading this.

~I’m now standing up sheepishly before you~

Hi, My name is Simone and I’m addicted to Starbucks.

I realize that I’m not the only one with this affliction. There’s a Starbucks near my house and my favorite couch to sit on faces the window where I sometimes see people picking up their drinks from the drive through. (I know, drive-through Starbucks, how lazy are we America? Yet, I digress.) I just started to observe the look of absolute delight on people’s faces as they drove away licking their whip cream and double drizzle off of their caffeine concoction. Mind you, they were barely looking at the road ahead of them. Or even better, why not bring the whole family to the crack house with you and get them started young? I see folks skip in with an entire family from a five year old, teenagers, to the parents … all seeking that sweet ‘drug’ to soothe their aching taste buds.

I had to snicker to myself when I watched the look of joy on their faces after the barista handed them their warm cup. It made me think, is that how I look when they hand me my hot chocolate? (I hate coffee.) I always ask myself, what the hell do they put in this stuff? Why are we like little kids obsessed as if the Mr. Softee ice cream truck just came to town?

The other night, reality really hit me when one of my favorite barista’s at my Starbucks saw me and my husband come in at about 10 p.m., partly drooling.

She said in a strong Jersey accent, “Ah, you’re here for your late night fix, huh?”

Yes, even they knew they had the good stuff. LOL!

She started pumping chocolate into a cup with confidence, “Grande hot chocolate, no whip and a marble loaf, right?” How embarrassing. Was it true? I was a regular!

Well, after pondering my Starbucks addiction some more, I realized the people on their marketing team are freakin’ geniuses. I mean, yes … it’s good, but let’s face it, I can go to the supermarket, buy a box of Nestle Quick and still make a slammin’ cup of hot chocolate. It’s really not the hot chocolate or the coffee. It’s the experience … it’s the spirit of Starbucks. (Can you hear the jazz playing in the background?) It’s the atmosphere, the sexy paint job of soothing earth tones, the velvet and leather couches, the hip writers, intellectuals, lovers, and cool music. (Depending of what time of day and location, of course.)

Now a $2.6 billion dollar business, they have built a solid reputation for giving back. I’d say that’s pretty good, considering this strong addiction puts a dent in many of our wallets. Starbucks ain’t cheap! I’ll give them credit … they know how to give back to their communities. High on social responsibility, they have earned the respect of many and that type of philanthropy is also great for marketing. One of Starbucks’ six guiding principles is “Contribute positively to our communities and our environment.”

They seem to take pretty good care of their staff as well. They’ve been most noted, even by Suzie Orman, as a great place to work if you need a side job with benefits. Although, she doesn’t advise you to break the bank going there daily! Starbucks was also voted among Fortune Magazine’s “100 Best Places to Work”.
My connection with Starbucks started over 10 years ago. During my days in Corporate America, I would rush in and out of a Starbucks during a quick break. Or I would use them as my regular “conference” rooms to meet with clients. (After work, of course … lol!) At the time, I have to admit it, I was a bit jealous. Oh hell, I DESPISED those people who seemed to be relaxing in Starbucks all day long on their laptops, closing deals on their cells, all while sipping a latte with their khakis and flip flops on. Why can’t I be like them I thought?

Wow, talk about a revelation … it all makes sense! Those ‘coffee shop consultants’ were one of my main inspirations to be free, to get cracking on my OWN business and face my fears. Those ‘coffee shop consultants’ with their relaxed vibe, made me want what they had, since I had to rush back and work for someone else. Granted, once I entered the world of entrepreneurship full-time, it’s not all lattes and flip flops. Many years of blood, sweat, tears, and many mistakes is what you have to go through. However, if it’s really meant for you to do it, believe me you’ll know, you’ll feel the passion, and you’ll love every minute of the good and the bad of being your own boss.

So, maybe there isn’t a little ‘something, something’ mixed in with the sugar of my hot cocoa. I now see why Starbucks has such an emotional tug on my heart and purse. I guess I have them to thank for a little bit of motivation, since now I’ve become that very person I DESPISED … sippin’ a hot chocolate, closing deals on my cell, rocking flip flops, khakis, and a smile.


P.S. At the time of writing, I’ve gone cold turkey for six days from my hot chocolate runs. Please, pray for me…

Simone Kelly-Brown is CEO of Own Your Power Communications, a company dedicated to personal growth and business development. She is also the Business Writer for WE Magazine for Women. simone can be found online at