May 16, 2019 500 AM
REDFORD – It seems like a small glimmer of hope for those craving a macchiato or a flat white in the desert. Driving down River Road, aka FM 170, towards Presidio, a large green sign with a two-tailed mermaid, most recognized as the Starbucks logo, stands tall in the Far West Texas desert. But with closer inspection, there is no drive-thru or a nearby brick and mortar. Starbucks Redford is merely just a sign.
The Starbucks sign went up a few months ago, adding to the two faux stores in the Big Bend region: Prada Marfa in Valentine and Target Marathon near Alpine. The logo stands outside of Redford, a small town near the Rio Grande and US/ Mexico border, and next to the sign for Angell Expeditions, a local river guide business owned by Charlie Angell.
“It only seemed inevitable that a hot cup of irony would be served in Redford one day,” said Angell. “It is quite amusing to see travelers pull down the gravel cemetery road here in Polvo where the sign is and slowly scan the abandoned houses, looking for their Frappuccino fix.”
The fictional chain stores speak to this part of the state that is secluded from any form of convenient consumerism, but is also a tourist destination that attracts travelers mostly from larger cities.
Prada Marfa is a permanent art installation by Elmgreen and Dragset that was installed in 2005 and commissioned by Art Production Fund and Ballroom Marfa. It’s a must stop for a photo as many celebrities take their photo in front of the fake store (the most infamous one is Beyonce jumping in front of it).
No one has publicly claimed responsibility for Target Marathon, but the familiar logo on a small cinderblock railroad building has become an Instagram favorite since it popped up in 2016.
Both stand along Highway US 90 in the middle of nowhere.
Starbucks Redford will require a bit of a drive, as Redford is a little more than an hour away from Marfa. But for those traveling around Big Bend National or State Parks, Terlingua, Presidio or Lajitas, a detour down River Road is needed for a quick pick-me-up.