The good news is that soon we're likely to see Clover Coffee machines everywhere, now that Starbucks and the Clover Equipment Company have announced plans to merge. Like I keep saying, once you've tasted coffee from a Clover you won't want to go back to ordinary drip ever again, and I can't wait till it's much easier to find.
The coffee business is like a big long line with Starbucks at the front followed waaaayy in the back by everybody else. If you care about flavor, atmosphere, value -- you will always prefer a good local roaster over Starbucks, guaranteed. But sometimes life doesn't present you with other options and frankly, Starbucks is pretty good too. In fact, maybe this will help improve the ratio of Starbucks per capita in the underserved Wal-Mart parts of the country.
Still, I know people who are disappointed that now it looks like Clover won't be able to sell to these smaller, superior coffee shops, which is a shame since these independent guys were what made Clover possible in the first place.
But my reaction is that this is all well-deserved goodness for Zander Nosler and his team, who can now focus on building a much more efficient production line, and new products including (Please!) a consumer-priced version.
I hope it also serves as a kick in the pants to the local VCs, many of whom were too risk-averse to invest in Clover. There are people out there right now thinking up similarly wonderful product ideas, just waiting for the money and support to make them happen.