Wake up and smell the coffee -- Starbucks is everywhere. The US's #1 specialty coffee retailer, Starbucks operates nearly 4,000 coffee shops in a variety of locations (office buildings, shopping centers, airport terminals, supermarkets) in some 20 countries worldwide. Starbucks sells coffee drinks and beans, pastries, and other food items and beverages, as well as mugs, coffeemakers, coffee grinders, and storage containers. The company also sells its beans to restaurants, businesses, airlines, and hotels, and it offers mail-order and online catalogs. Starbucks has expanded into coffee ice cream (with Dreyer's) and makes Frappuccino, a bottled coffee drink (with PepsiCo).
Three Seattle entrepreneurs started the Starbucks Corporation in 1971. Their prime product was the selling of whole bean coffee in one Seattle store. By 1982, this business had grown tremendously into five stores selling the coffee beans, a roasting facility, and a wholesale business for local restaurants. Howard Schultz, a marketer, was recruited to be the manager of retail and marketing. He brought new ideas to the owners, but was turned down. Schultz in turn opened his own coffee bar in 1986 based on Italian coffee cafes, selling brewed Starbucks coffee. By 1987, Schultz had expanded to three coffee bars and bought Starbucks from the original owners for $4 million. He changed the name of his coffee bars from Il Giornale to Starbucks. His intention for the company was to grow slowly with a very solid foundation. He wanted to create a top-notch management by wooing top executives from other well-known corporations. For the first two years, Starbucks losses doubled as overhead and operating expenses increased with Starbucks" expansion. Schultz stood his ground and did not sacrifice long-term integrity and values for short-term profit. By 1991, Starbucks" sales increased by 84% and the company was out of debt. Starbucks grew to 26 stores by 1988.