How Starbucks Grew to Be the Company It Is Today

It is hard to visit any city in the world without noticing that familiar brand name synonymous for its coffee which is ‘Starbucks’. The coffee chain which is the largest coffee house company in the entire world operates in over 50 countries and has over 17,000 stores selling espresso-based hot drinks, drip brewed coffee, cold drinks, sandwiches, panini’s, pastries, and other snacks. They also sell items such as coffee pots, beans and coffee mugs as part of the Starbucks experience.

What the company is today is a far cry from how things started for Starbucks. The very first Starbucks establishment first opened in Seattle in 1971 by three people Gordon Bowker, Zev Siegl and Jerry Baldwin who were inspired by the entrepreneur Alfred Peet to sell coffee beans and equipment that was of a higher quality.

The name comes from the story of Moby Dick where the first mate of the boat ‘Pequod’ was called Starbuck. The company was originally going to be ‘Pequod’, but the name was vetoed as not appropriate for a coffee establishment and Starbucks was adopted as the name of choice.

The store relocated to 1912 Pike Place in Seattle in 1975 and when Howard Schultz joined the company in 1982 as Director of Retail Operations and Marketing he advised that the company should start selling coffee and espresso’s as well as the equipment and coffee stuffs that they were already selling. But the owners rejected the idea as they feared it would greatly distract from their main business of selling coffee equipment.

However, undeterred Schultz, still convinced that selling pre-made drinks was lucrative, started Il Giornale in 1986. Very quickly the company grew and in a year later he bough Starbucks from the original owners and re-branded his whole company as ‘Starbucks’. The company then started to expand and open more and more locations growing to 165 outlets in 1992.

Starbucks next milestone was to open its very first outlet overseas in Tokyo in 1996 and reached the shores of the United Kingdom in 1998 buying the UK-based Seattle Coffee Company and re-branding it under the Starbucks name. It then reached South America in 2003 and also purchased the coffee chains Seattle’s best Coffee and Torrefazione Italia and then Diedrich Coffee in 2006.

Starbucks continued to grow around the world to this very day when in January 2011, the company announced strategic alliance with Tata Coffee who are the largest coffee plantation company in Asia in order to open Starbucks outlets in India.

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