Starbucks Coffee Company

Starbucks Coffee Company was founded in 1971 by three businessmen in Seattle, Washington who loved coffee and tea. It was important to them that the city of Seattle had access to their coffee.

Starbucks Coffee Company grew slowly, but by 1981 it had 4 retail stores and a roasting plant selling coffee beans only in Seattle.

In 1983, the marketing manager had a vision to recreate the magic and romance behind the Italian coffee shop and wanted to test the concept of selling espresso by the cup. When Starbucks Coffee opened its sixth store in downtown Seattle, the idea became a hit. Within 2 months, the new store was serving over 700 customers per day and selling 3 times more than the Whole Beans locations.

In 1987, the owners of the Starbucks Coffee Company decided to sell their coffee business along with the name to a group of local investors for $3.7 million.

The new investors were told that they would open 125 Starbucks coffee shops in the next five years. Starting from a base of 17 stores in 1987, the company quickly expanded to Vancouver, Portland and Chicago.

By 1991, Starbucks had expanded into the mail-order catalog business, authorized stores at airports, and expanded further into the state of California.

In 1992, the company went public and after the IPO, Starbucks continued to grow at a phenomenal rate that no one had seen before in the coffee world. By 1997, the number of Starbucks Coffee stores increased tenfold, with locations in the US, Japan, and Singapore.

Starbucks initiated several successful product and brand extensions, including offering coffee on United Airlines flights. They also began selling premium teas through the Tazo Tea Company and offering people the option to buy Starbucks coffee online to enjoy at home.

They began distributing whole bean and ground coffee to supermarkets through an agreement with Kraft Foods. They also produced premium coffee ice cream with Dreyers. Starbucks even sold CDs in its retail stores.

Starbucks began to make its name a household word not through advertising but word of mouth. In fiscal 2004, Starbucks opened a record 1,344 stores worldwide. The once small regional roaster, Starbucks Coffee Company, now has more than 9,000 locations in 34 countries serving more than 20 million customers per week.

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