The history of Starbucks began in Seattle, WA on March 30th 1971 where three associates, Jerry Baldwin, Zev Siegl and Gordon Bowker decided to start their own business. They were passionate about coffee and created a small coffee shop. The store initially just sold roasted coffee beans as well as tealeaves and spices rather than the drinks they have become so famous for. The small did well and they rapidly opened six more stores in Seattle, becoming the largest coffee roaster of Washington State, but things began to change in the 80s.
In 1982 they hired Howard Schultz as a marketing director and shortly after they sent him to Italy to attend an international housewares show. Schultz has been amazed by the exciting coffee culture of Italy. He saw there was a great opportunity for a business as he watched all the people gathering and enjoying their drinks at the coffee bar. At his return, Schultz described his great idea and tried to convince the owners that the future was to sell espresso by the cup directly to the customers and not just coffee beans.
They allowed him to have a small coffee corner in one of their stores; it became an immediate success and showed the potential for this kind of service. However, the owners were not ready to enter the restaurant business and preferred to stay with their original plan of selling whole beans. Schultz branched out on his own and quit Starbucks to open his own coffee place, directly inspired by the Italian cafes. His store became quickly successful and a few years later, in 1987, he bought Starbucks and its six stores with the help of investors that he convinced about his project.
His vision was right and by the end of 1987 he was at the head of 17 stores. His business idea has been rapidly spread out on the entire United States, starting from the Northwest to the Midwest. In 1992, Starbucks had 140 stores all over the US, they changed into Starbucks Corporation and went public by entering the NASDAQ stock exchange. By 1995 Starbucks was present in every major American cities and first abroad in 1996 with the opening of a store in Tokyo. Nowadays, Starbucks has more than 20,000 franchises; they are present in 61 countries in the world for a global revenue last year of more than $13 billion.