My wife sent me this article about Starbucks opening nine new locations in St. Charles County -- it looks like we've finally made it to the big-time! I personally refuse to spend $4 for a coffee-flavored shake, but to each their own.

In less than a year, not one, not five, but nine Starbucks have either opened shop or are set to do so soon in a county that until recently had only one and was better known for its fast food pit stops. ...

As head of the St. Charles County Economic Development Center, Prestemon said the outpouring of stores indicated that the rapidly growing county had hit a milestone. "The Starbucks Factor," as he dubbed it, makes the area more attractive to new businesses, retailers and home buyers.

The brand indicates a certain economic prosperity and a level of spending power that's attractive to businesses. For home buyers, it hints that a community exists beyond the subdivision, he said. When it comes to high-tech companies, Prestemon said they tended to, um, perk up when they saw a Starbucks in the nearby mix.

There are plenty of housing developments sprouting up to provide customers for these Starbucks, and it's pretty exciting to watch all the development first-hand. Hopefully it will be a while before we get the Los Angeles style traffic....

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