Polly's Coffee! 4606 E. Second Street, Long Beach, CA 90803

Polly's Coffee Stays True to Form and Prevails

On May 28 2013, the Starbucks on the west end of the 2nd Street shopping district closed, ending a 15-year competition with independent coffeehouse, Polly’s Gourmet Coffee. When it opened in 1997, it became the second Starbucks location on the street, with another several blocks away. The move sparked such attention that it reached all the way to the New York Times’ Sunday edition.

A week before the rival chain closed, Mike Sheldrake, owner of Polly’s, sat across from his antique coffee roaster and reflected upon what he calls the “Starbucks episode.” When he found out the Starbucks a few...