It’s not just the Coffee

An English teacher, history professor and a fiction writer get high on coffee. And they open a store at Seattle in 1971. Selling high quality coffee beans. But they don’t want much hustle in the business and find a way to hit cruise mode. Rich coffee aroma does that.

Meanwhile, a young manager they hired was on a totally different trip. Howard was travelling in Italy in 1983 to buy coffee. He found a coffee bar in every town he passed through where communities were hanging out. And he was mesmerized by the sense of romance and theatre around a cup of espresso.

He knew it then: It’s not just the Coffee. It’s what happens around it.

Howard comes back and shares his stories with his bosses. But they don’t commit. So he quits and opens his own Italian coffee bar. IL Giornale: Coffee & ice cream with opera music streaming.

He starts up well but now the company he earlier worked for runs into trouble. And the 3 partners sell off the company to Howard for $3.8 mn in 1987.

And that’s how Howard Schultz became the CEO of Starbucks. And realised his vision to create ‘the third awesome place between home and office’. Coffee and conversations.

A story on how stories can power a $26bn business: One person, One cup and One neighbourhood at a time.

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