It doesn’t matter if you are a coffee drinker or not. Most of us have heard of Starbucks. As one of the most successful companies in the marketplace today, the little corner coffee store from Seattle has grown into an international company worth $4.1 billion dollars. Starbucks now boasts over 7,000 stores in the United States and in 43 countries worldwide. From their trademark beverages to the strategic relationships they have created, we can all take a few notes from the Starbucks management team. Based on the numerous awards they have earned including: “100 Best Companies to Work For” 1998-2000 and 2002-2008, “Ten Most Admired Companies in America” 2000-2007 and one of 100 “Best Corporate Citizen” 2000-2007 award and the methods they have used, Starbucks has built the coffee empire we all know and love today.
Starbucks Coffee, Tea, and Spice was started in 1971 by three friends; Jerry Baldwin, Zev Siegel, and Gordon Bowker. It was located in Pike Place Market in Seattle and sold premium, fresh roasted coffee and coffee brewing equipment. Although they did not offer fresh-brewed coffee by the cup, samples were sometimes available. The retail store was a success, with sales exceeding expectations and a second store was opened in 1972. With the departure of Siegel, Baldwin and Bowker continued perfecting their coffee roasting techniques and the education of consumers to the quality of their product.
The transformation from that corner store to Starbucks that we know today actually began with a seemingly innocent observation of Howard Schultz. As the vice president and general manager of Hammarplast, a Swedish maker of kitchen equipment, he noticed that Starbucks was placing very large orders for coffeemakers. This sparked his curiosity, causing him to visit the store. During that visit, he experienced love at first sight and was quoted as saying “It was like magic”. Schultz could not stop thinking about what it would be like...