Coming soon: A brand new Starbucks store with a really big heart!

What’s 2300 square feet and has an even bigger heart? The brand new Starbucks inside Children’s Hospital Seattle.

Coming soon: July 17, 2010 Starbucks is scheduled to open a new company-operated store inside Children’s Hospital in Seattle.  Most Starbucks located inside other businesses are licensed locations, but this one is not.  This is an all new company-operated Starbucks.  The rumor I hear is that the space was previously occupied by Tully’s and they finally decided to no longer keep and operate the space, and that Starbucks jumped on the opportunity to take it over.  The Children’s Hospital Starbucks location will be two stores, operated as one business. One store in the “Giraffe” wing of the hospital, and the other in the “Whale” wing of the hospital.  One manager will manage both stores.  Both sites currently have very small kiosks currently in operations.  My belief is that the kiosks have been open only for just a few days (possibly were opened very early June).  Here is the run down on the two stores:


Giraffe:  The very large 2300 square foot store will be located in the “Giraffe” wing of the hospital, and is under construction.  The store will be designed with wider walkways than a typical store, and numerous low-positioned larger tables, and is on the first floor of the Giraffe area.  In keeping with the hospital’s animal themes for areas, my understanding is that store design will make heavy use of older coffee-stamp style artwork that featured large animals, such as the Tanzania stamp or hopefully the old Sumatra stamp (that’s my wishful thinking).  The “Giraffe” wing store is the permanent main larger location, and currently has a temporary tiny kiosk operating to at least have some operations going while the main store is under construction.  I’ve heard that the store in the Giraffe wing will have standard Starbucks food, though the store is at least exploring the opportunity of adding perhaps an additional item suited to its unique circumstances, such as an easy to digest soup.

This is going to be a big deal.  Think about the clientele of the store.  The store is inside the hospital.  My heart goes out to everyone who will make this work.  Since it is clear, by the very nature of the location, many customers will be nearly residents of the hospital, this store will bring new meaning to the idea of a “third place.”  The hospital will be home to some of the customers. My understanding is that the “Giraffe” wing of the hospital has longer-term patients.  The exterior wall of the Starbucks has a mural of a Giraffes, and that mural will stay.  Currently the construction for the new store is behind the Giraffe mural.  The photo used as the main photo for this blog post is found in the Giraffe area of the hospital.

Whale:  The second smaller store, within the hospital, is located in the “Whale” wing of the hospital, on level five.  Currently Starbucks has already operating a very small kiosk a few hundred feet from a smaller store under construction.  The “Whale” and “Giraffe” areas are at opposite ends of the hospital, and it’s clear that the strategy and plan is to have two stores within the hospital as to reduce walking distance for customers.  There is some whale art hanging near the future Starbucks in the “Whale” section of the hospital, and so I took a quick photo of the hanging whale art.  There is a very small Starbucks-produced sign announcing their new store on the “Whale” side of the hospital too, and so I’ve included that photo here too.

I have to apologize for the poor quality of the photos that go with this blog entry.  I wasn’t really expecting to find blog content at Children’s Hospital, and so I didn’t come prepared with a nice camera, or even a pen to take some notes on the things that I learned on my visit to the hospital.

Would you want to work at this store if you’re a partner? What do you think?  I think this is a really cool store concept, and will be an amazing experience for the partners who are a part of it.  ((I know I promised my readers no new content for a week, but now I am back from vacation and I just don’t have the ability to wait that long.))

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  • Michelle

    Before I started working for Starbucks I worked for the largest bookseller in Canada. They have one store which they were using as a test. It’s located in a hospital. This hospital has three others plus a rehab place within sight of it’s front doors. Directly across the street is Toronto’s Sick Kids hospital, beside is the hospital that specializes in cancer treatments. And the hospital the store was located in specialized in babies (it has one of only 4 neo-natal ICU’s in Ontario) and cancer treatments. Basically a pretty sensitive environment. I managed this store for 18 months.

    The hardest thing about it was when you’d see the patients come down in the morning for their newspapers. They’d be in their pj’s still and would be attached to an IV pole which had medicine of some kind on a drip into them. The good thing is that you’d see them later in their clothes up and about without ther meds.

    The other really good thing was making up baby gifts, especially for grandparents and older siblings.

    One day I had someone come in to buy a disposable camera so she could take pictures of someone who was in the ICU who wasn’t going to live through the night. His mother was on her way to him but she wasn’t going to make it in time, and her friend thought that it might help the mother sometime down the line to have the photos. That…was a difficult converation. (I’d assumed someone had just had a baby and they wanted pictures of that)

    Bottom line is, it takes a very special person to work in a hospital environment, especially when you have to deal with chronically ill patients. I didn’t have a lot of luck keeping people for long periods of time, it’s like it all got to be too much for people and they had to leave. (usually we transferred them to another store) And, I can’t imagine how more heartbreaking it will be in this situation because the patients are all children.

  • purple1

    Wow it seems that SB takes on new stores, etc. in Seattle and never thinks of this concept outside of Seattle. What a neat idea. Does SB think it would not work outside Seattle. I find that hard to believe. Melody, curious as to how you got wind of this? Are other parts of the country not worth investing in?

  • Sebastian

    That is really great! I think many kids will enjoy their stay at the hospital much more with such a store. I also visited some hospital Starbucks in the US and they really give you a pleasant and welcoming feeling despite they are in a hospital. It is a completely different feeling to sit there. If I was there, I’d rather be at Starbucks than on my room. 😀

    Now it is Winter’s take to visit this store…it is company operated.

  • mindi

    WOW! I would LOVE to work at this store — in fact, I might have to ask my SM/DM about it today. Seems there would be that much more opportunity for really building that third place as well as having the partners so much more invested in a team environment.

    @purple1 — Beyond Starbucks’ special connection to/with Seattle, I think there are a lot of good opportunities for the company to try out projects like this close to home, where the big-wigs can keep a close eye on them, before sending them out into the wild. This could/should be a good start on this type of location/situation.

  • purple1

    Mindi- I understand your point, however, it really does not make total sense because you can test market products (perhaps testing a store concept is more involved re costs, etc. ) why not these kind of stores. Also, there are district managers in each area of the country so you would think they can keep an eye on how these new stores function. Otherwise, what would be the purpose of having a DM? I can’t see why that cannot be a responsibility of theirs. And I still believe SB has to go beyond Seattle to try new things. Yes, Seattle is a great city and the corporate home of SB but that does not mean that a new concept will not work in another city outside of Seattle.

  • Melody

    Hi purple1 and Mindi – One thing about this blog is that it has a huge Seattle perspective. That’s where I am located and so it’s the kind of information that I can dig up. When Starbucks is doing great things in other places, I am almost never writing about it because either I don’t know about, or I’m not able to get there. I’ve thought about how cool it would be to write about the UK Starbucks experience (I really need to get to London), or a trip to NYC to see the first Clover store there in SoHo, but alas, this blog is unfortunately absurdly Seattle-centric. Mindi it would be great if you could go work at this store. I hope so! They must still need a few partners??

  • purple1

    Melody- I understand that the focus is Seattle based because you are in Seattle, however, you have detailed other locations. My issue is not with your coverage specific to Seattle, but the fact that SB limits itself to new stores, concepts, etc. to the Seattle area. Sure, they have remodeled some stores outside of Seattle, but I question how focused they are on other parts of the country.

  • jorda_nn

    @mindi — it’s not a completely new idea. We have a very successful company operated store inside the Princess Alexandra Hospital here in Brisbane, Australia. The ”store” is tiny: maybe 15ft x 60ft including the back room, though it’s not themed like the Seattle Children’s appears to be, and the cafe is in the lobby of the hospital. I’ve worked there; it can be really sad – but the opportunity for community involvement is very, very rewarding. Completely different vibe, and understandably so, to any other store I’ve ever worked in.

  • jorda_nn

    @purple1 — so what I’m trying to say in SSC’s defense is, they’re not always Seattlecentric! :)

  • Cindy

    What would be great is if Starbucks had a give-back component to the stores at Children’s Hospital. You know, a percentage of profits goes to the Hospital’s numerous programs, etc. It could be part of Starbucks hometown strategy.

  • CABarista

    An interesting note on licensed stores that I just learned: In Canada NOT all stores within stores are licensed. In fact very few are (twenty some)

  • darkkatpouncing

    Having 2 locations w/in the hospital to cut down walk time is a great idea.

    With the coffee, snacks & other food items available to hospital staff, visitors & patients this brings a nice additional level of comfort to the hospital. Coffee/food/the familiarity of Starbucks…well it’s calming for me when I’m having one of those days and coffee is always good :)

    Thanks for sharing this news with us! I hope it’s successful!

  • denise r.

    I’m agreeing with ‘purple1’s last comment…it’s not about your blog or topics (Melody), for those of us far from Seattle…. it’s that Sbux seems to stay Seattle-centric.

  • Nob

    2 Starbucks!?
    Melody, let me know about that, can I work as a nurse of the hospital?
    (oops, I’m sorry……)
    There are some hospitals which have Starbucks in Japan.

    I visited US Bank Centre(1420 5th Ave) last year. The place had 3 Starbucks. U.S. Bank Centre, U.S. Bank Centre Kiosk, 6th & Union. These surprised me.

    There is Starbucks in the place that you go, it’s not “You go to Starbucks”. Starbucks goes to your place. I think so. 😀 😀 😀

  • mindi

    @nob — I used to work at the US Bank store … technically the kiosk and main store (mid-building) are one store (#109). The kiosk was one of the very first Seattle stores and when the other part of that store opened (not the 6th and Union one) they merged to operate under one manager and Starbucks entered into a lease with the building agreeing to keep the kiosk open (although it has more limited hours now). Both are coming up on a remodel later this calendar year, so I’m very curious/excited to see what happens with those two.

  • Pam Westcott

    Yes, this is a move that will probably be welcomed more by the patients’ parents. And I agree — it does take a special person to work at a children hospital. (I’ve met them, and they are fabulous.) I bet the staff will love it, too. And I support anything that helps the physicians, nurses, therapists, et. al. do their jobs, which they do so well. Thank God we have people like that who can do these things. They are heroes.

  • Amanda

    Hi Melody! I met with you earlier this evening, and now here I am on the internet. That’s pretty exciting that Starbucks has decided to get involved with a children’s hospital, of all things.. I would absolutely love to work a shift at one of those stores someday (and perhaps I can, since it’s relatively close to home for me.) It would be an eye-opening experience for any barista to work in a hospital, and connect with customers that are dealing with presumably very difficult situations. It would be nice to know that their day could be made just a little less chaotic and stressful with a good cup of coffee.

  • Melody

    @Cindy @PamW @Amanda –
    Cindy – I love your idea of having some donation program generated out of this unique location!! It would really create good will. Even if it was only something like, every Friday a nickel from every beverage went to cancer research for children, or something creative.
    @PamW – Thanks for the reply! Yes for the staff it really is their second place. I’m excited for this store, and I’m going to try and cover the grand opening too.
    @Amanda – It was a lot of fun meeting you at 15th Avenue Coffee this evening! (I think I now have more than one Amanda at this blog!) – I’ve blogged about 15th Avenue Coffee a million times on this site because it is such a great store. Thanks for coming by and I hope you’ll become a regular at my blog! :) (You can subscribe even)

  • JRMY

    This is pretty amazing. I don’t think I’d personally be able to handle working there. I tend to get very close to my customers, and I think the emotional strain of it would be too much for me. Maybe not, but it seems like it.

    As for the concept stores in Seattle, I would say, (a) there are a few outside Seattle: Disney Village in Paris, and one in LA; (b) Seattle is a fairly controlable environment, as they know a lot of the variables they have to deal with, plus it’s stable. People in Seattle are going to go to Starbucks. If a concept doesn’t work, they’ll go to the Starbucks 2 blocks away (and if you think I’m exaggerating, there are at least 4 other Sbux within 4 blocks of my store).

  • Nob

    Please say hello to your sister for me. 😀

    Thank you for the news about that store. I am interested very much, too.
    I like that small store. That is very cute.
    I put pics here.

    Is concept store at LA a green store? Would you teach me that if you know? pics, web site, etc. Thank you.

  • Sara

    This is great! And I agree that a give-back component would be amazing.

  • Steve

    A great addition to a great hospital.

  • Melinda

    Thanks for sharing this great story! What a wonderful addition for the families that will be visiting these stores often. I too would love to see Starbucks set-up some kind of a donation program similar to their RED concept for this location.

  • Hayley

    What an uplifting post…I think so anyway! That will really help to make this a 3rd place and just a little more comforting to those in stressful times! And soo much better than icky hospital coffee!

  • Merryn

    It is so nice to have decent coffee in a hospital! The one where my mom spent a couple days brewed Starbucks coffee, but had very limited hours. A lot of the time, all you could get was drip coffee. I wish more hospitals had decent coffee shops in them. :)

  • JRMY

    @Nob – I don’t know much about the LA store. i only know about it from talking to people from the design team shortly after 1st&Pike opened.

  • camspi

    I love this idea. I bet the baristas working here are going to have amazing stories of connecting with patients. I have a feeling, though, that a lot of the inspiring the human spirit won’t always come from the baristas, but from the patients, as well.
    Also, the giraffe mural is beautiful. Hope to see pics of the inside soon! I tweeted @SbucksPassion about Starbucks doing a coffee table book about interesting store designs. I would also love to see a photobook of stores with original, beautiful murals.

  • CD

    This post has made me think of a different way for Starbucks to find/scout for new locations. In the past the search has probably been very metric-based (population, income, etc.).

    I think Starbucks should scout locations like this, where the “Starbucks Experience” could have a huge impact on the people in the area. What better place to experience the Starbucks Experience than a place where you might need it most, like a children’s hospital?

    The different approach could help boost the image of Starbucks much like the Apple retail stores in key locations have helped boost Apple’s image. It could also help magnify the effects of the Starbucks Experience because of the situational needs of the customers and the connections made with the partners.

    Just imagine: if they married some of the key learnings of their retail concept stores and the best of their traditional stores, these “experience” locations could truly be one-of-a-kind ambassadors for the Starbucks Experience.


    @Melody, On the non-Seattle perspective: denise r and I would suggest that you add the inspiration of Gold Coast Blend to your list of potential areas to tour! 😉

  • LatteRose

    Excellent post. I think people would find it very comforting to have good coffee (& good hot chocolate!) in that stressful situation. I know I would. I think if I worked there, I’d want to be handing out comfort left & right.

    Thanks for the photos – love the whale & the mural!

  • Melody

    @CD and @CamSpi –
    @CD- I definitely think that this kind of location helps promote the image of Starbucks – if it is well done. It’s going to have to be a place where baristas believe in the Starbucks experience. I hope it gets a little extra labor to maintain it. At 2300 square feet, it’s going to be tough to keep up on the lobby. One thing that is obvious about First and Pike (“Heritage”) Starbucks is that it goes through a ton of for-here ware, causing a lot of work for baristas to wash all those dishes. There isn’t really extra labor for that. I’ve even thought of writing a whole blog post on the paradox of for-here ware This store will likely have the same struggle.

    You’re too funny about the Gold Coast Blend thing. Well, I’m not going to Australia, but I need a trip to Chicago. I REALLY want to do the Intelligentsia tour that Denise did. I’m painfully broke right now. My car just sucked a ton of money out of me, and I’m trying to buy an in-city condo. (Long story).

    @CamSpi – A coffee table book of Starbucks store designs would be amazing. There would be SO much to show off. Starbucks really needs to do this!

  • denise r.

    Oh Melody: do come to Chicago!!!! we would all have a blast. we could plan a nite or 2 in a fancy hotel downtown, and literally check out every Sbux all a block apart! (that would take too long tho, and only a few of them are really interesting….many of them downtown are w/out restrms and really small and want you in and out.) But, there are tons of other places, too. And of course, the Intelligentsia tour….. and a trip to their store on Jackson. (historic bldg, pulled shots… it used to be at Sbux, which is why I was told they won’t expand anymore for a while……they don’t really want to become a Sbux) Just know you are welcome and will be taken care of!
    Since I’m guessing none of us are painfully wealthy, I guess we have to aim for this;) but REALLY!
    I smiled at the Gold Coast idea, too.

  • denise r.

    ps: there’s a BEAUTIFUL coffee table book on nothing but swimming pools, by Calvin Klein’s wife, if I remember. came out back in the 90’s. I did see it but never got it when I should have…..altho, I will now that I am remembering. Anyway, my point is: I agree, Sbux could make a beautfil coffee table book, with gorgeous pics of stores and coffee beans and blooms…..not info.,m just beautiful photos. This sounds very shallow and trite but, I cannot imagine a life without GOOD coffee, and it certainly is more than the drink itself. (altho I really do need that first cup of fresh BOLD a.s.a.p. in the morning, generally very early)

  • denise r.

    Sorry, me again. Back to the hospital idea, children’s or otherwise….. we had a Sbux kiosk added in our hospital cafeteria where I worked for many yrs….in the mid ’90’s this was added. OMG, were employees happy, and I’m sure visitors. I don’t know, licensed or not. But the nearest real Sbux was about .75 mile away…… back in the days when we had enough employees to have a real (or any) lunch hr., it was very popular for a coffee run. (Central St in Evanston……I still love that store and it’s tiny. That’s where the barista put that “It’s a wonderful store’ cap on my head and gave it to me one Christmas-time.) Anyway, the hospitals now affiliated with the one I was writing about all have a Sbux kiosk. at least somewhere in the hospital.
    And, I also think the VIA idea (maybe on msi) about VIA available in places like hospitals would be great. Obvioulsy none of the Sbux are open very late and sometimes that’s when a visitor, especially, really could use a boost. (I think it was mentioned as in a vending machine, which seems like that would work)

  • AmandaJ

    Nice blog Melody :) Well covered.

  • Kieley

    Hi Melody!

    This is a great post! Thanks for always having the latest scoop on all things Starbucks! This is great for the hospital and I truly believe it will become a home for families who have kids there and for the hospital staff. The decor sounds unique too since they plan to really focus on the animal theme…perfect for the kiddos!

    I wonder if they would consider adding some more kids drinks since it will be company owned and inside a children’s hospital?

    Please keep us updated on the blog with more pictures as they become available! :)

  • Dee

    this is just a wonderful idea! I wonder if they will provide more child friendly snacks and drinks as well. aww :)

  • Steve

    Children’s Hospital here is Seattle looks anything but a hospital. Every floor has either an animal theme or a train theme and no one is turned away because they can not afford treatment and the hospital has given away quite a lot of free services. KOMO, a local TV station (channel 4), has a telethon every year called The Miracle Makers I think to raise money for the hospital and they have success stories like the guy that had a flesh eating desease and they show different parts of the hospital like the therapy swimming pool and play room and people who come around to cheer patients and even a therapy dog. Starbucks would, I feel, fit in perfect.

  • Jenna

    ps: there’s a BEAUTIFUL coffee table book on nothing but swimming pools, by Calvin Klein’s wife, if I remember. came out back in the 90’s. I did see it but never got it when I should have…..altho, I will now that I am remembering. Anyway, my point is: I agree, Sbux could make a beautfil coffee table book, with gorgeous pics of stores and coffee beans and blooms…..not info.,m just beautiful photos. This sounds very shallow and trite but, I cannot imagine a life without GOOD coffee, and it certainly is more than the drink itself. (altho I really do need that first cup of fresh BOLD a.s.a.p. in the morning, generally very early)

  • pshouseblog

    Wow, that seems like a really smart business location. When we lived in Chapel Hill there was a Starbucks near the hospital- it was not the most popular with the students as there is also one on Franklin Street- but it was very smart location. I agree that it would be hard to deal with all of the emotions and stresses of customers.

  • CloverGal


    I’m loving the idea…. and am rather tempted to investigate the idea of transferring…. despite being very attached to my current store. Would be very very interesting to look into. Anyone know if they’ve they set a grand opening date yet??

  • Steve

    You might call Children’s at 866-987-2000 Cover Gal for their grand opening date. The date Melody published at the beginning is July 17th and according to Children’s they do have a keosk already there.

  • Melody

    @CloverGal – Hi there! If you’re serious about transferring, I don’t know if it would help but I know the DM of this new store. If you send me an email, maybe I can help you get that contact information. You probably can get that info from your DM. But my email address is – I think it would be an awesome experience being a partner at this store, and that they store should indeed try to recruit partners who have an enthusiasm for this special kind of place!

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