On June 30, 2011, Starbucks opened a beautiful brand new company-operated store in Neuss, Germany.  As regular readers of this blog know, I love to write about and feature new stores.  And it’s still exciting to me to see the new logo pop up in new store windows.  Just recently my twitter friend Sebastian Birr dropped by this store and took a few photos.

First off, here’s the store location:

Rheinpark Center (A shopping mall in Neuss)
Breslauer Str. 2-4
41460 Neuss
Telephone number for the Starbucks as per the Rheinpark Center website: 02131-1245752

There are not that many photos of the new store, and it appears to be a fairly small store.  Like all new Starbucks locations, it is LEED Registered with the plan for LEED Certification once the correct process has happened for such certification.

When I saw these photos that Sebastian took, one of them jumped out at me.  I decided that I really wanted to write a blog post just to talk about lights.  And I am referring to the lighting fixtures hanging from the ceiling in this store.  If you look closely at the photo labeled, “Starbucks Coffee House Rheinpark Center – Neuss 3,”  you will see that Sebastian (perhaps inadvertently) ended up with a close up of the ceiling lights.  The panel in the light fixture has the words “Fresh Roasted Coffee” on them.  These are great lights.  I love them, and almost feel a bit emotional when I see them.  Not all the new store openings use these lights.

In March of 2009, Starbucks opened a Starbucks at the corner of First and Pike, in downtown Seattle, near the entrance to Pike Place Market.  There are several photos of that store in these two blog posts:

The First and Pike Starbucks uses the exact same lighting as the lights featured in this Neuss Starbucks.

Having been to that store a million times, I can safely say that the lights at that store are just like the ones featured in Neuss, and have the words “Fresh Roasted Coffee” on them.

A little later that year, on July 24, 2009, Starbucks opened a store that was called “15th Avenue Coffee and Tea.”   When 15th Avenue Coffee and Tea was new, I hung out in it often, and chatted with the then-project manager of it, and even ran into a couple members of the design team there.  I vaguely recall that a discussion of the lighting came up in conversation.  The lights at First and Pike Starbucks and 15th Avenue Coffee and Tea were intentionally designed to echo the style of lighting in use at 1912 Pike Place.  The lights at 1912 Pike Place do not say “Fresh Roasted Coffee” but are a similiar style to those at First and Pike.  I have a blog post about 1912 Pike Place Starbucks here:

So in short, these particular lights in Neuss are a homage to the first store.

As a brief aside, this week on July 11, 2011, Starbucks announced that the new President of Starbucks Europe-Middle-East-Area is now Michelle Gass.  Congrats to Michelle, and maybe she’ll end up with some fun trips to Germany.  (Take me with you Michelle! LOL!)

By the way, for those who are curious, there are currently no drive thru Starbucks in Germany.

For the German speakers of this blog, there is an interview of Starbucks President of Germany operations, Ross Shadix:

July 6, 2011 article with interview of Ross Shadix

Here’s are a few excerpts from the interview:

FOCUS Online: Was unterscheidet den deutschen Kaffeetrinker von anderen?

Ross Shadix: Für Starbucks ist Deutschland einer der Schlüsselmärkte. Die Deutschen lieben Kaffee. Der Wochenkonsum liegt über dem weltweiten Durchschnitt. Das Kaffeetrinken hat in Deutschland eine sehr soziale Komponente. Während in vielen Orten der Welt die Menschen ihren Kaffee unterwegs trinken, trifft man sich in Deutschland bei einer Tasse Kaffee mit Freunden oder entspannt dabei.

Focus Online:  What differentiates the German coffee drinker from others?

Ross Shadix:  For Starbucks, Germany is one of the key markets.  The Germans love coffee.  The weekly consumption lies above the worldwide average.  In Germany, coffee drinking has a very social component.  While in many place of the world, the population drinks their coffee on-the-go, in Germany, a person meets at a coffee house with friends or unwinds with coffee.

FOCUS Online: Wie viele neue Läden wollen Sie eröffnen?

Shadix: Unser Ziel sind 14 im gerade laufenden Geschäftsjahr (Anm. d. Red.: Das Geschäftsjahr bei Starbucks endet am 30. September). 2012 wollen wir – genauso wie in den Folgejahren – die Zahl der Neueröffnungen weiter erhöhen. Vieles wird aber auch davon abhängen, wie unser Test mit Drive-Through-Läden, wo man vom Auto aus bestellen kann, läuft. Im ersten Halbjahr 2012 wollen wir die ersten Probeläden eröffnen.

Focus Online:  How many new stores do you want to open?

Shadix:  Our goal is 14 in the currently-ongoing business year (The business year at Starbucks ends on September 30th).  In 2012, we would like – exactly as in the following years – to increase further the number of new store openings.  Many will depend upon how our test with drive-thru stores – where one can order from a car – goes.  In the first half of 2012, we want to open the first test store.

FOCUS Online: Eine andere Frage war: Warum ist der Kaffee bei Starbucks so teuer?

Shadix: Wir wollen unseren Kunden nur den besten Kaffee anbieten. Wir kaufen ausschließlich die weltweit hochwertigsten drei Prozent des verfügbaren Kaffees. Und Top-Qualität ist eben etwas teurer.

Focus Online:  Another question was ‘why is the coffee at Starbucks so expensive?’

Shadix:  We want to offer the best coffees to our customers.  We buy exclusively the worldwide highest-worth three percent of available coffee.  And top-quality is indeed expensive.

Thank you Sebastian for bringing the German and European Starbucks market to this blog!  Here are a few photos from the Neuss new Starbucks: