Oh, This is how I got "Here" continued!
Back in 1971 there were 3 guys who opened a storefront in Pike Place Market in Seattle.
(very 1st Starbucks location – 38 years later)
They named their business Starbucks and their logo was a bare chested mermaid taken from the story of Moby Dick. Their business model was to import some of the finest coffees in the world, roast the beans daily and sell the roasted coffee beans to Seattlites. They were very successful coffee roasters and expanded into different locations around Seattle area. In 1982, one of the original owners hired another guy to help with their marketing. This new guy, Howard Schultz, went on a business trip to Milan, Italy. While in Italy, he was captivated by the cafe/coffee culture that existed around coffee. He thought it would be great to bring the culture of a coffeehouse to the U.S – brilliant! You know the rest of the story. And by the way, the original owners sold to Howard Schultz and the bare chested mermaid logo changed. One of the original owners continued to roast coffee under the name of Peet’s Coffee!
Back in 1994, when I made my first trip to Seattle, I’m pretty sure Starbucks was still contained on the West Coast – Seattle, Portland, California and maybe Chicago, as the exception. There was another small coffee roaster in Seattle called Seattle’s Best. I actually made a trip to Vashon Island to tour the roastery. At that time, I preferred Seattle’s Best to Starbucks, but I was totally enchanted with the coffeehouse scene. There were a gazillion really small coffee shops scattered around the Seattle area, but at that time all the shops were considered to be independents and locally owned. I wanted to own my own coffeehouse – real bad! And I wanted to live in the Northwest. I was constantly reminded of the “coffee void” when I arrived back in Pittsburgh each week. So, when I could, I would head to the Southside to hang out at the Beehive.
Interestingly enough, there was also a small roastery in Olympia, WA, Batdorf and Bronson, which began roasting coffee in 1986. During my early visits to the Northwest, I stayed mainly in the Seattle area and was not aware of the coffee treasure that resided 1 hour south of where I was hanging out.
By 1996, while still traveling to the Northwest and many other parts of the country, I began to write my business plan. I spent almost 18 months traveling the country, including Canada, looking for an exceptional coffee roaster; it ended up being Batdorf and Bronson and the year was 1998. In June of 1999, I opened up my VERY OWN coffeehouse – Tazza D’Oro. My vision was to create a culture and experience around coffee – quality was always at the core of the vision and the plan. However, they way we did coffee 10 years ago was a completely different animal than it is today. Three and a half years ago we had to make a very important business decision – which way are we going to go – our current path or follow the new wave of coffee? More tomorrow.
Picture of the day: this coffee life is hard work!
We are staying in this amazing house on the beach in Ocean Park/Seaview WA. The owner called me one day prior to our trip in a very serious, apologetic tone saying he had lots of fire wood delivered to the house but we would need to walk along the shore line to gather kindling wood. Imagine, walking along the Pacific Coast in the foot steps of Native Americans and the early explorers gathering wood – no problem, dude.