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David vs. Goliath In the war against Starbucks, independent coffeehouses have a viral marketer on their side.

By Mya Frazier

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Greg Ubert wants to save the independent coffeehouse fromextinction. A Harvard-trained economist, he's waging agrass-roots marketing war against Starbucks. "Independentcoffeehouses recognize the need to compete against thebehemoth," says the 39-year-old founder and president ofCrimsonCup.

Launched as a wholesaler of coffee beans in 1991, the $5 millionColumbus, Ohio, firm crusades for the survival of its customerbase--360 independent coffeehouses. By offering marketing support,consulting and everything from beans to advertising banners,CrimsonCup ensures customers gain the benefits of a recognizablenational brand without sacrificing the authenticity ofindependence.

The quality seal program is catching on: About 70 coffeehousesin 16 states display the CrimsonCup logo, and the company'ssixth Independents' Day, a popular annual gathering, isexpected to draw more than 150 coffeehouse owners this year.

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