We’ve seen your ideas sharing that you wish licensed stores felt more like company-owned stores. I wanted to give you an update from our store design team about how we listen to your feedback and are applying store design principles across all of our stores. Here’s an example of one of these stores in Seattle’s Belltown neighborhood.
What was once the site of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer is now City University. The store serves both the college and the surrounding neighborhood seamlessly. I sat down with Parker E., designer of this beautiful store to find out more about this new licensed store location.
SS: Tell me about the 6th & Wall store; it’s stunning.
PE: That used to be the Seattle PI building. It had great bones with art deco elements, so I wanted to approach it just like I would a company-owned store.
SS: Meaning … what? How is that a different design from our licensed stores?
PE: Usually the difference is in the building itself—the style, the architecture. And, of course, you have to keep in mind the licensee’s brand.
SS: So, the art deco set this off?
PE: I knew I wanted to play off of that, but I also wanted to use this as a chance to demonstrate to the licensee on what our brand approach is: honor the existing building architecture and you honor the neighborhood.
SS: And what did the building say to you?
PE: The space read “raw artisan.” It had this industrial-loft vibe. That’s what hit me—the warehouse feel with a view of the old PI globe on the waterfront in what’s now a new project [City University]. I could see the big idea. Rejuvenation.
SS: Your “big idea” must’ve struck a chord with the college. They weren’t concerned about the store reading all Starbucks and no City University?
PE: Well, I did a lot to blend the two brands together. For instance, the blue tile along the back bar was custom made to reflect CU’s colors and the choice of the leather seating finishes reflects their logo. We also built a community table with lots of power outlets so that their students can plug in and keep studying. It’s important to remember how the store is going to be used and what the licensee needs for their customers too.
SS: Cool. I like the subtle nods to keeping their brand identity. What are the design elements that you feel are uniquely Starbucks?
PE: The mural. We had local artist Mike Martinez do a custom mural that looks like you’re sitting on the monorail. That was a cool effect because the monorail runs right next to the store and reminds you to hop on and see our local sights. We also used reclaimed African hardwood on the walls of the workroom; there’s no dry wall in the space, it’s natural. These little things—using local artists, incorporating unique features of the neighborhood like the monorail and using real materials—reflect our design philosophy.
Learning about the store from Parker left me both humbled and excited. I’m continually impressed with the thoughtful and intrinsic care placed into our store designs. And now, the same level of attention is finding its way to our licensed stores —one cup, one neighborhood and one licensee at a time.
Inspired by your ideas:
Continuity between Corporate and Licensed Stores
posted by WorkFromHome
Starbucks in Universities
posted by bracha15