Growing Up Starbucks

I didn’t start drinking coffee until I’d been living in Alaska for a couple of years, in my 20s in the late 1980s.  Of course, I then started noticing coffee shops everywhere.  So I started trying different kinds of coffee and different ways of brewing.  I eventually arrived at whole bean medium roast with a smooth sweet finish.  (I admit to preferring Seattle’s Best over Starbucks.)

Of course, Starbucks originated not far from where I grew up.  When I saw Howard Schultz interviewed shortly after he came BACK to run Starbucks, I was impressed.  I liked his concept of Starbucks as a community resource as well as a business.  Starbucks is successful once again, and he is changing course.  One undertone hints that he is too liberal and outspoken for the current climate and is being “forced” to step back.  Since he remains a force within the company, I think the choice was probably based on many factors.

I hope Starbucks learned their lesson.  Rampant expansionism isn’t nearly as important as the values associated with your brand.  The Pacific coast states are progressive states and citizens value progressive companies.  And, success isn’t measured only by profits and growth.