Just two days after Coffee Klatch Roasting of Southern California announced that it would serve free coffee at its two coffee shops when all U.S. Starbucks stores close on February 26 for employee retraining, hundreds of independent coffee shops and small chain locations have followed suit to announce similar promotions, creating a nationwide movement to drive coffee consumers to local coffeehouses.

“First our announcement started circulating on coffee discussion websites and blogs, then our phones started ringing and email messages of support poured in from coast-to-coast,” says Mike Perry, Coffee Klatch president. “I was shocked to see that our local promotion to demonstrate how much better our coffee is than Starbucks had turned into a nationwide uprising of independent coffeehouses.”

“Independent businesses are smartly seizing this opportunity to turn the tables and spotlight Starbucks’ touted ‘bold demonstration of commitment,’ for what it really is — an admission of weakness,” says coffee industry consultant Andrew Hetzel of Cafemakers. “Local coffee shops everywhere should band together and join in the promotion for maximum impact.”

“Whether free or not, we hope that everyone will use Tuesday, February 26th as an opportunity to visit their local coffee shops and find out what they’ve been missing,” says Perry, adding, “Anyone in the U.S.A., Canada or U.K. can visit delocator.net to quickly find their nearest independent coffee shop.”

Free, expertly crafted coffee beverages will be served at Coffee Klatch Roasting’s two locations in Southern California on Tuesday, February, 26th between 5:30 PM and 8:30 PM: