Thursday, March 12, 2009
And the Sign Says....
A curious event happened today as the scaffolding around the corner of Pike and 1st Avenue in Seattle came down and a new Starbucks store was unveiled. (Another Starbucks in Seattle you may ask…..how is this possible??)
The store opens tomorrow but already it is a show stopper. The first thing you notice is the logo. It’s the old mermaid who is making her reappearance. We saw her last Fall with the launch of Pike Place Blend – she was on the coffee packaging and on all the paper cups. She’s also the beacon for the original Starbucks store in Pike Place Market.
I had a chance to speak to one of the Starbucks designers and this is the first store launched under a new concept called “Heritage”. As I recall from my days at Starbucks, this concept has been in the works for quite some time and draws it’s inspiration from…. guess what? You got it - the heritage of Starbucks and the traditional coffeehouse.
It’s a beautiful store. From the outside there’s lots of glass (notice the glass overhang to protect patrons from the famous Seattle rain), wooded blinds frame the windows and there is a Parisian café style patio with marble top tables and wicker chairs. Inside the colours are warm – dark browns and large chalk boards instead of the usual “QSR” style menu boards. It’s also a Leeds certified building.
This place is probably about 3000’ feet and including the patio could seat maybe 50 people. Given it’s prominence to the entrance of Pike Place Market, Seattle’s #1 tourist draw, this store will easily be a $2.5 to $3 million dollar store for Starbucks.
This is a good sign for Starbucks. They know that their success resides in creating the “Third Place” but over the last couple of years we’ve seen stores built with cheap seats and horrible acoustics. We’ve been terrorized by blenders and loud music from tinny speakers. Business meetings become shouting matches. No fun.
So here’s my question……what about the other 8000 or so stores that need TLC??? When will you fix “My Starbucks”?
OK - perhaps I’ll walk the 3 extra blocks to this new one.