The first Starbucks opened in 1971 in Seattle, Washington and interestingly enough, didn’t sell coffee. That empire would come later.
Why is it called Starbucks?
Many a literary tale has inspired the masses, but did you know that one of the most well-known coffee brands in the world was named after a ship’s mate? Starbuck is a character in Herman Melville’s Moby Dick, and though he never actually drinks any coffee in the novel, Gordon Bowker, Jerry Baldwin, and Zev Siegl decided he would represent their company. Bowker decided the name “Starbucks” rolled off the tongue a bit nicer, and so a legend was born.
One of the few companies to keep the same moniker over the years, Starbucks has only updated their logo a handful of times since first opening their doors. The original logo was based on a woodcut done many years ago and featured a busty mermaid with twin fins. Amidst all the sea imagery and references, this Starbucks Siren, as she became known, only seemed fitting.
Image Source: Design Hill
In the years since her debut, the Siren has gained a bit of modesty and gone from muddy brown to bright green and white. The green of the logo represents “growth, freshness, uniqueness and prosperity” and was first introduced in 1987. The company has kept with the same green-and-white color scheme since, removing their name and leaving it to the Siren herself to represent the brand.
Peet’s and Howard Schultz
Only 13 years after opening the first Starbucks, the founding trio bought Peet’s in 1984 and sold the Starbucks bundle to a man named Howard Schultz. As chairman and newly-minted CEO, Schultz took the Starbucks brand to a new level after he was inspired by a trip to Italy. Once he returned, Schultz began implementing several strategies to expand Starbucks and increase revenue. Venti, anyone?
These bold moves by Schultz eventually paid off, as the brand continued to grow. In 1991, the first licensed airport store had opened in Seattle’s own Sea-Tac International Airport. Only 4 years later the first drive-thru location opened. Starbucks even had a magazine called Joe in 1999, though it only printed 3 issues before disappearing. Because as much as we all love our coffee, we don’t always have the patience or time to read about coffee beans. And whatever else the high-browed Joe might have to say. Although here’s a fun fact: Brazil produces nearly 40% of the world’s coffee and Starbucks is one of their biggest customers.
In only 30 years from first opening its doors, Starbucks had nearly 5,000 locations across the country. As of 2015, that number has grown to over 23,000 stores in as many as 50 countries. That same year, Starbucks achieved their goal of 99% ethically-sourced coffee.
Love it or hate it, Starbucks has become an internationally-recognized brand. So much so that the famous logo doesn’t even have to include the brand’s name anymore. The barista might not spell your name right and your order might sound like a string of Italian gibberish, but there’s no denying the hold Starbucks has over the caffeinated workers integral to society. So, how do you like your favorite cappu-frappu-cuppa-coffee?
Rebecca Henderson is the published author and professional editor at The Kreativ Space. Best expressing herself through the written word, she enjoys the smell of burning rubber as well. Rebecca hopes to shift your world perspective through her words, because looking out the same window every day hardly makes for an interesting life.