Tomorrow is the grand re-opening of the Olive Way Starbucks located at 1600 East Olive Way, in Seattle, Washington. The store opens at five in the morning on Monday, October 18, 2010. Today (10-17) there was a store preview party, which I attended. Now this was definitely a big party, with lots of partners in attendance. I tried to take photos of the store to show off here on the blog, but there was no way to get a single photo without tons of people in it. To be honest, the party was a whirlwind. When I received my invitation, I had a small fear that I would attend, and not know a single person there. That was silly of me to think that. I ran into a million and one familiar faces at the party, and tried to make small talk with people, say hellos to many folks, and take pics all at the same time. Chad, the store manager of 1912 Pike Place was there, and it was great seeing him again. Leah, the former store manager of First and Pike Starbucks (still a partner, she was promoted to a corporate position) was there and it was great seeing her after much too long of a time. Mindi, a wonderful barista who tweets with me often, was there too. There was no shortage of familiar faces. Howard Schultz was in attendance, circling the room and socializing. I said “hello” to him too. He was, as always, polite and gracious around me.
I might return tomorrow and try to get a few more pictures when the store is not packed with people. I’m sorry that it was difficult to highlight the beauty of the store with all the people in it, but just think of this blog entry as highlighting the creative people and partners who were able to make this store come to life.
I want to provide just a little background on the store: The site that now has this Starbucks at one time had a small house in 1938. This site was later a sandwich shop, and then a Red Robin, and then a Boston Market, and finally a Starbucks. I remember the Boston Market, as that was mid-1990s. The store again resonates the “repurposed wood look” throughout the new updated design. In fact some of the chairs are old classroom chairs from the University of Washington. One of the community tables uses wood salvaged from a floor of Garfield High School, a local Seattle school. The store is stunningly beautiful.
The store features a center-positioned coffee, food, Clover, and beer and wine bar, to really put the theater of the beverages center stage. Beer and wine service starts at four p.m. The food menu offers additional offerings beyond a typical Starbucks. It looks like there is a meat plate not currently a standard offering, and an unusual brownie as well. I was so busy socializing with people, I didn’t actually try the food. I will do so tomorrow.
One more thing that is interesting about this store is the barista dress code. Black is strongly encouraged. Khaki pants are not allowed. It is an “elevated dress code”. Partners are encouraged to always wear shirts with a collar that button up, however there is some flexibility that patterned shirts may be allowed. Notice that the aprons are slightly different too.
Please enjoy the photos, people in them and all: (All of the photos below were taken today, October 17, 2010)
And please tell me what you think of this new store and concept!
Edit October 18, 2010:
The store officially reopened this morning at 5:00 am. The doors were actually unlocked at about 5:02. I was the first customer in the door, though much to my surprise given the early hour, there were at least six or seven other people waiting to get in. Last night’s event was truly a party and so I had hoped that I could take at least a few photos of the store empty. I had thought that at five in the morning this might be possible, but in all honesty, it quickly was filling up with customers. Here are just a few more photos. It’s a little easier to see the wine and beer area, as well as the seating arrangement in the photos below: