Thursday, December 16

Rock On, Tommy

I'm in Paris yesterday but back in time to see fabulous Mary, who has moved her family to Seattle to take the role as head of strategy for Starbucks reporting to Howard Schultz who is 55 but, Mary says, looks like 40.

The first Starbucks was opened in Seattle March 30, 1971, by English teacher Jerry Baldwin, history teacher Zev Siegl, and writer Gordon Bowker. They were inspired by friend Alfred Peet to sell high-quality coffee beans and equipment - in fact, during their first year of operation, they purchased beans from Peet's. Howard joined up in '82 as Director of Retail Operations and Marketing, and after a trip to Milan advised that the company to sell coffee and espresso drinks as well as beans. Even though Seattle had become home to a thriving counter-cultural coffeehouse scene since the opening of the Last Exit on Brooklyn in 1967, the owners rejected this idea, believing that getting into the beverage business would distract the company from its primary focus. Coffee, they thought, was for the home, Howard left to found Il Giornale coffee bar chain in April 1986. Meanwhile in 1984, the original owners of Starbucks bought Peet's (Baldwin still works there). In '87, they sold the Starbucks chain to Il Giornale, which rebranded the Il Giornale outlets as Starbucks and quickly began to expand. Starbucks opened its first locations outside Seattle in Vancouver and Chicago and the rest, as they say, is history, Starbucks went public in '92 with 165 stores; today they are over 17,000. Source: Starbucks and Wiki.