Have you ever wondered how they did it? Starbucks

Sarita A


We love entrepreneurship, we love telling stories that make us goosebumps but above all we love to give a space in Enupal to these great men and women who have managed to go beyond their comfort zone and take risks. We have to go a little further and inquire about each of these companies or organizations to know how they did it and how an idea became a business worth billions of dollars. That's why we are pleased and proud to tell you how these people have changed and revolutionized the world in one way or another.

Starbucks, which owes its name to one of Melville's classic Moby Dick (novel by writer Herman Melville published in 1851 that tells the story of the whaling ship Pequod). This business idea that started in 1971 when three young entrepreneurs, the English teacher Jerry Baldwin, the history professor Zev Siegel, and the writer Gordon Bowker decided to open a small store where they sold coffee beans in the central pike market in Seattle ( It is the largest city in the state of Washington, in the northwest of the United States of America) which perhaps nobody could have imagined would become one of the largest coffee companies in the world.

The three founders of Starbucks: Zev Siegl, Jerry Baldwin and Gordon Bowker
The three founders of Starbucks: Zev Siegl, Jerry Baldwin and Gordon Bowker

In its beginnings it became a thriving Seattle company, with five retail stores, a small mill and a wholesale business that sold coffee to local restaurants. That's when Howard Schultz received an invitation to enter the business. At that time, Schultz was vice president of operations for the United States, in New York, of Hammarplast, a Swedish household goods company. And since Schultz wanted to leave New York, he accepted the position and moved to Seattle.

Schultz (2011) states in his book The Starbucks Challenge:

"I grew up in the slums of Brooklyn, New York, I studied at the university that I paid and I moved to Seattle, Washington with my wife Sheri after accepting the position of marketing director of a small coffee company called Starbucks. I spent the first weeks working at the Pike Pleace store, learning everything about coffee, filling small bags with coffee beans that I took with a small stick. But it was a trip to Italy where I discovered by chance my true passion. While visiting small coffee shops in Milan or Verona, I marveled at the capacity that a small cup of coffee can have to connect two people and create a community among them, and from that moment I decided to take the first coffee with me back to the United States. class and romanticism of the Italian coffee shops ". (p.8)
Howard Schultz
Howard Schultz

And this is where many people did not believe in their vision, since by then Starbucks did not sell coffee as a drink but only coffee in grain and ground, so the most sensible thing at that time was to leave Starbucks because he felt frustrated because what the I dreamed it was not exactly what I was doing at Starbucks. After a while he decides to return to Italy to replenish that idea of inspiration again, he toured coffee after coffee without stopping to dream and feel that idea come true. And he decided to open his own coffee shop in April 1986 preparing espresso coffees and other variants unique to the market with that illusion and romanticism wrapped in ideas that that trip had left him, carrying the name iL Giornale, for an Italian newspaper.

Soon after deciding on another business, the original partners decide that they want to sell Starbucks, and this reached the ears of Schultz who at the time did not have enough money to buy them, but this was not a limitation since Schultz decided to look local investors and finally they sell Starbucks to Schultz for approximately 4 million dollars and buy the 6 establishments that they owned and their coffee roasting plant, decide to change the name of all their coffee shops and generate the same idea in each one of them. At the end of that year in 1987 they had eleven stores, one hundred employees and the dream and passion to create a national brand. And this is how this famous business started, which today is still committed to providing more than just coffee.

Currently, Starbucks includes many points of sale and is the main supplier of the best coffee in the world, with more than 23,000 stores in 67 countries. The transformation that Starbucks suffered in the hands of Howard Schultz was partly due to that spark in his heart of a dream and to take a risk. The insatiable need to make his dream come true turned him into a success.

However, you can not attribute a single factor. Perseverance, time, careful planning and a bit of luck have contributed to the lucrative business of the present, for Schultz, dreams and vision dictated caution, being an entrepreneur did not mean acting foolish, crazy or taking unnecessary risks, I think an initial vision of your company which you have faithfully respected since then. Stoner (2000).

And this is how a trip not only allows us to meet new cultures, interact with other people but also leave our comfort zone to give the imagination a range of new ideas that are transformed into opportunities and business ideas.

In particular my experience has been amazing to be in some of its stores, I'm not to drink a lot of coffee, but my favorite Starbucks is white chocolate mocha coffee, and a delicious cheesecake!

¿What's yours?


In recent years, Schultz has been expanding its chain of coffee shops in order to incorporate more than 21,000 stores in 65 countries worth mentioning that none is in Italy, for the date it is proposed that by the end of 2018 to enter Italy with a luxury place in Milan. It will be located in the old post office of Milan, near the Piazza del Duomo, in the center of the city. According to Schultz, "there has always been a missing link between the success we have had and our growth and development because we had not entered Italy."

"I felt we were not prepared to come to Italy," Schultz admitted in an interview with the Associated Press. "I think Italy is a special place. I greatly respect the tradition of Italian coffee and Italian culture, and it seemed to me that we had to earn respect, opportunity, and I believe that over the years we have reached a point where we are ready to come. " Read the full story here:

And this is how a trip not only allows us to meet new cultures, interact with other people but also leave our comfort zone to give the imagination a range of new ideas that are transformed into opportunities and business ideas.

"Grow with discipline, balance your intuition with rigor, innovate around the core, do not accept the status quo, find new ways of seeing, never wait for the silver bullet, dirty your hands, listen with empathy and communicate with transparency." - Howard Schultz -


Schultz, (2011) "The Starbucks Challenge"

Stoner, James; Freeman, Edward and Gilbert, Daniel, Administration, 6th Edition, 2005, Prentice Hall, Mexico.