For coffee lovers like Laura and myself, no trip to Seattle would be complete without a pilgrimage to Starbucks. Down at the city’s famous farmer’s market, the retail giant still maintains the very first store it opened (pictured above). The progenitor Starbucks shop sold coffee, pastries and spices. You won’t find spices there anymore. The king of caffeine finds it more profitable to peddle Starbucks-branded kitsch to a stream of tourists so endless that they line up outside and, to prevent overcrowding in the hole-in-a-wall shop, are waved through in twos and threes.
As Starbucks has grown into a globe-straddling enterprise, it experiments with new concepts. You can get a feel for the company’s new directions by visiting the Starbucks Reserve complex on Pike Street (pictured below). Don’t be surprised if some of these retail ideas appear in a shopping center near you.
Half the space at Starbucks Reserve is taken up by the gleaming machinery that roasts the beans and does whatever else the company does to make its coffee taste so good. The processing equipment provides a colorful backdrop for the mayhem that takes place in a massive retail space. Never have I seen a Starbucks store so large and packed with so many people.
Among many features, there’s a bakery…
I will say, the almond croissants were tasty.
And a bar…
Starbucks, it appears, is partnering with Knob Creek, the bourbon distiller. Knob Creek products were displayed prominently.
If you thought $2 for a cup of java was crazy, just wait. In another Starbucks innovation, you can buy a “flight” of gourmet coffees served in tiny, espresso-sized cups for an absurd price.
Not surprisingly, Starbucks Reserve has set aside considerable space for the kitsch — the t-shirts, the coffee mugs, the gourmet home-brewing sets, and all the rest. Now that Starbucks is a global brand, apparently there is no limit to the stuff that people will buy if it is emblazoned with the Starbucks logo.There are currently no comments highlighted.