Written by Rosa Stocks, One Step Blogger | Images Provided by Starbucks Newsroom

Roughly forty years ago, Starbucks changed the way the public ordered and drank their coffee. Inspired by the espresso bars in Milan, Italy, Starbucks sought to create a similar coffeehouse culture in Seattle and, in time, nationwide. And, boy did they succeed! Starbucks’ locations have become social hubs for coffee and non-coffee drinkers alike. Let’s face it, they are very much part of people’s daily lives. Even non-Starbucks aficionados will somehow end up walking through their doors. Not necessarily to buy coffee but perhaps because they will be attending a business meeting or meeting up with friends or doing the infamous “Starbucks Run” for coworkers. Starbucks understands its customers and constantly steps up to the challenge to meet their wants and needs— the goal of every retailer if they wish to stay relevant with their customers.

So, it shouldn’t really surprise me that Starbucks has once again stepped up their game. On February 27th, Starbucks opened up its first premium Reserve Store located at Starbucks Seattle headquarters. Open to the public, the store is… well… an experience overload! Just take a look.




“When you walk into the space from the entry, you can take everything in the sweep of an eye,” said Christian Davies, vice president creative global design & innovation for Starbucks. “We wanted people to walk through those doors and immediately find themselves in something different and unique, but they would still recognize as Starbucks.”




interior rooms


If Starbucks was a place to be away from home or from work, it is now a place to be away from just about every trendy spot in the city.  Just by looking at these images I am already antsy for an LA location. And, if looks are not enough to get you in through their doors, check out their new features:

New Product Offerings

  • New Items to the Beverage Menu (Nitro Draft Latte, Spiced Ginger Cold Brew on tap, and espresso drinks such as the Bianco Mocha)
  • Starbucks Reserve Coffees
  • Fresh Baked Artisanal Italian Food from Rocco Princi
  • Full Mixology Bar Serving Traditional Italian Aperitivo and Aromatic Italian Cocktails (Aperol Spritz, Milano Torino, and Negroni Sbagliato)

New Store Experiences

  • Customers can engage with and order from partners (employees) at the Princi counter or Reserve coffee bar
  • Gather with family and friends at community tables or lounge areas around two fireplaces
  • On view is the Princi kitchen where customers can see breads and pastries being made
  • Market-style environment
  • Interactive events
  • Full-lineup of brewing techniques on display
  • Starbuck Reserve coffee library which features a collection of books on the geography, flora, and fauna of Starbucks coffee-growing regions

One may ask why experiment with a new store format if the current one has produced financial success. The answer is relevancy. They have built upon their past success to create new authentic experiences that have relevance to the Stabucks customer of today.

“Today marks another significant milestone as we have taken everything we have learned from our highly successful Roasteries, the relevancy of the third place* and the overwhelming reception of freshly baked Princi food to an environment that will re-define customer connection and continue to serve as a halo to the rest of the business,” said Howard Schultz, Starbucks executive chairman.

Starbucks is planning to roll out 1,000 Reserve stores worldwide. It will be very interesting to see how customers shall respond to this new store format.


Continuous innovation is key to retail success. Just as consumers are constantly evolving and moving forward so must the retailer. They must recognize the need to be more innovative and relevant in adapting to their customers’ needs and demands. Not just those of today’s but of tomorrow. Stagnation is not an option.


Quick side note. For those who are asking themselves (much like I did when reading Starbucks press release), what is Howard Schultz referring to as the “third place”. He is referring to Starbucks goal to being the third place in our daily lives where the first place is home and second place is work. I believe for many Americans this has held true.