Where's the Starbucks on Martha's Vineyard?

How to find what you're looking for on an Island where chain-owned retailers aren't allowed to set up shop.

It's true: There is no Starbucks coffee shop on Martha's Vineyard. But that doesn't mean you can't enjoy a cup of the famous brand, or a Starbucks espresso drink made to order in a white paper cup with the internationally-known mermaid logo, while you're on the Island.

You just can't get it at a Starbucks: You get it at the counter of the locally-owned Edgartown Meat & Fish Market.

That's because Starbucks, with more than 20,000 stores around the world, can't put one on the Vineyard, where town by-laws and an Island-wide commission have long excluded corporate-owned chain retailers.

Yes, we have a pair of Stop & Shop supermarkets, one with a nearby pharmacy, but they're grandfathered from the A&P days, before Island policy makers took a hard line on chain stores. A Cumberland Farms and a locally-owned Dairy Queen are among the few other food-related brand names you'll spot on storefronts here.

But you'll find no Dunkin' Donuts, no KFC, no Panera Bread and most definitely no McDonald's on Martha's Vineyard.

Fast-food plan spurred opposition

It was a late-1970s bid by a New Bedford selectman and former mayor to open a McDonald's on the Vineyard Haven waterfront that galvanized Island opposition to fast-food chains in particular. 

In a meeting with concerned Vineyard residents who told him the Island was a "special" place, would-be proprietor Edward F. Harrington reportedly responded "Well, you're not going to be special long," (see photo).

Harrington, who died in 1996, saw his Vineyard business plan fail in 1979 due to environmental concerns.

But the conflict forged a strong local culture of opposition to fast-food chains and off-Island megaretailers that has lasted to this day.

So where do you shop and eat when your go-to brand-name favorites are a ferry ride and a highway drive away? Here are some tips for finding what you want on Martha's Vineyard; readers are welcome to add more suggestions in the comments section below.  

If you're looking for ...: try these Vineyard businesses and find more in our Directory:

  • Apple Store (certified): Educomp and Mac PC Sales and Service, Vineyard Haven
  • Baskin-Robbins: All our local ice-cream shops are great!
  • Banana Republic: Vineyard Vines, Katydid, J. McLaughlin, In the Pink — all in Edgartown
  • Bath & Body Works: Simply Soaps in Oak Bluffs
  • Bed, Bath & Beyond/Crate & Barrel/Linens & Things/Sur la Table: LeRoux at Home, Vineyard Haven
  • Chipotle: La Choza, Vineyard Haven
  • Dean & Deluca: LeRoux Gourmet, Vineyard Haven
  • Dunkin' Donuts: Dippin' Donuts in Edgartown, Martha's Vineyard Gourmet Bakery/Back Door Donuts in Oak Bluffs
  • Game Stop: DYFY Games in Vineyard Haven
  • Gap: Brickman's in Vineyard Haven
  • GNC: Vineyard Grocer, Vineyard Haven
  • Hallmark: Mardell's in Vineyard Haven, The Corner Store in Oak Bluffs
  • Lush Cosmetics: Arianna, Edgartown
  • McDonald's: The Quarterdeck, Edgartown
  • Old Navy: Menemsha Blues, Soft as a Grape, various locations
  • P.F. Chang's: The Copper Wok, opening this summer in Vineyard Haven
  • Panera Bread: Black Dog Bakery & Café, Vineyard Haven
  • Panda Express: China House, Edgartown
  • Radio Shack (authorized): Vineyard Electronics, Vineyard Haven
  • Sephora, Ulta Beauty: Rouge Luxe Apothecary, Oak Bluffs
  • Sleep Train: Ocean Breeze Bedding in Edgartown, East Chop Sleep Shop in Vineyard Haven
  • Staples, Kinko's: DaRosa's in Oak Bluffs
  • Starbucks (authorized): Edgartown Meat & Fish Market
  • Subway: Skinny's Fat Sandwiches in Edgartown and Oak Bluffs, Shiretown Meats in Edgartown, Y Café at the YMCA
  • Taco Bell: Sharky's Cantina in Edgartown and Oak Bluffs
  • Target: Granite Ace Hardware, 242 Vineyard Haven Rd., Edgartown
  • Toys R Us: Kids Cargo at Granite (above), Brickman's and The Toy Box
  • Whole Foods: Tisbury Farm Market, Vineyard Haven

What's the Vineyard equivalent of: Legal Seafoods? Home Depot? Lowe's? Au Bon Pain? Outback Steak House? KFC? Everyone can play this game: Add your suggestions in the comments! 

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Ashley Gilbert June 19, 2013 at 10:07 PM
A lot to add to the list:). Of course everything listed is more expensive but also better quality on MV! First off for Apple: Mac PC sales and service in VH I believe is the one that closed Coffee: Beetlebung when in Menemsha Red Lobster: Homeport in Menemsha (way better of course, but family friendly) Olive Garden: Giordano's in OB Domino's Pizza: The Pizza Place in EDG Michael's Crafts/ beading stores: Beadnicks in VH JOANN Fabrics: Granite in EDG Salvation Army: Boys and Girls Club Thrift Shop in EDG Designer Outlet Stores: Free Bird Market in VH TGI Friday's: The Warf in EDG Ocean State Job Lot: Trader Fred's in EDG Toy'S R Us ( Board Games) : The Lazy Frog in OB and Granite in EDG Petco: Good Dog Goods in OB CVS: Stop and Shop Pharmacy in EDG I'm sure I will think of a ton more:)
Ashley Gilbert June 19, 2013 at 10:14 PM
Barnes and Noble: Bunch of Grapes in VH Anthropologie: Midnight Farm in VH Claire's Boutique: Sheila Allen Designs in EDG Crabtree and Evelyn: Rainy Day in VH William's Sonoma: Le Roux in VH
Ashley Gilbert June 19, 2013 at 10:25 PM
Chuck E Cheese: Ryan Family Amusements aka The Game Room in OB Carnival/ Amusement Park: The AG Fair late Summer Eileen Fisher: Bryn Walker in VH and EDG Frozen Yogurt Chains: Tisberry Frozen Yogurt in VH Outback Steakhouse: Ocean View In OB Chili's/ BBQ chain: Smoke and Bones in OB
Ashley Gilbert June 19, 2013 at 10:31 PM
Planet Fitness: YMCA in EDG, The Workout in EDG, Mansion House in VH Friendly's: Dairy Queen in EDG Duchess: Pirate Jack's in OB Head Shop/ Hippy Shop: Third World Trading Company in OB
Ashley Gilbert June 20, 2013 at 05:50 AM
I could keep going! As a shopaholic/ store owner I now know where to find everything. Ask me and I will tell!!


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