Apparently, no one ever told Doug Bottum that you can't change the world by sitting around on your bottom. Since May 25, the Orlando resident has been staging semi-regular morning sit-ins outside the Starbucks on Park Avenue in Winter Park. At issue: Winter Park's recent requirement that the shop remove its patio furniture from its front sidewalk.
"I believe in picking your battles," says Bottum, who works as a trainer at Kovar's Village Grill. With the aid of a handful of friends and fellow customers, he's trying to draw attention to the denial of outdoor sipping rights by bringing self-procured seating onto the property, including rocking chairs and patio pieces.
Store manager Sean Janson says the new Starbucks offered outside tables when it opened in April, but was told two weeks ago that the arrangement violated an ordinance passed in January. That law limited exterior furniture to restaurants, not "cafes and cafeterias."
Bottum says he doesn't understand why Starbucks wasn't "grandfathered in." (The business secured its spot last December, before the law was passed.) Janson waits for word of possible redress from the permits department. Time will tell if an average Joe and a cup of joe can make a difference in Winter Park.