University Village Starbucks – The 2nd Starbucks ever. (Featured Clover store)

University Village Starbucks is the iconic store “302.”  The Pike Place Market store at 1912 Pike Place is “301.”  This gorgeous store has always been a Starbucks hub, even before University Village was an upscale shopping center!  This store has been there forever.  Well, actually it’s been there since September 1, 1972.  As I understand it, originally it was a tiny location somewhere in the center of University Village, and then relocated to its current space in the University Village shopping center during the summer of 1994.   It doesn’t surprise me to learn that the Starbucks moved locations in 1994.   I think that was the year that major renovation began through out the shopping center in order to develop it into the shopping destination that it is today.

After digging online a bit, I found a March 1994 Seattle Times article describing the re-opening of the University Village Starbucks, as their “largest store,” to open in early July 1994 and slated to be about 3,300 square feet.  I am pretty sure that the 1994 relocation, and 3,300 square feet space, is the current location.

In 2009, University Village Starbucks had a major overhaul remodel.  It was one of the very first stores to get the new LEED Certified design, which is now standard for stores receiving their 10-year major renovation.  This store is not just LEED Registered, but rather it is LEED Gold Certified.  That 2009 major remodel involved shutting this store completely down from April 18, 2009 through June 29, 2009, and its grand re-opening was June 30, 2009.  By the way, I should be clear that this store has had a number of refreshes and updates between the major July 1994 opening, and the major July 2009 re-grand-opening.  During the 2009 remodel, the store was stripped down to bare structural columns, and included the removal of both interior and exterior walls.  Apparently, there is an aquifer close to ground level underneath the store, and this had attributed to major water damage to existing walls, so I have heard.

One thing about this store is that it is always busy.  Both before and after the major remodel, it’s been a store where the lobby is never empty.  I knew that the only way I would ever get any photos of the lobby is to arrive before 6:00 a.m., when possibly it will still be fairly slow.  This store opens every day at 5:00 a.m.  I am pretty sure that at one time (briefly) this was the only 24-hour lobby Starbucks in Washington, though at this time it is NOT a 24-hour store. It is the only store that I can think of in Seattle that stays open until 2:00 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights (and all other nights it closes at 1:00 a.m.)

I have to apologize that the current photos are a little dark.  At o’dark-thirty, there’s no natural light coming in the windows.

But before I show off current photos of the store, take a look at these pictures:  I took the series below on June 26, 2009, long before I knew I would ever have a blog.  The store was closed during its remodel renovation, and the wood panels securing the construction site were nearly pieces of art:

One of my regular readers sent this photo from her collection, which is a great photo showing off the unique construction barrier that was at this store:


I only have a handful photos from that 2009 re-grand opening day, but I thought this was totally interesting.  Look at how the Clover area has changed!

Here is 2009:

And here is October 15, 2011:

In July of 2009, Starbucks made an early attempts to experiment with an interactive touchscreen/customer education device.  Take a look at the whole bean area, as it was set up in July of 2009:

Notice the monitor in the above photograph:  It had an interactive touch screen where customers could click on coffee information, and learn more about the coffees sold at Starbucks.  I can clearly remember thinking in 2009, that that was a horrible location for the whole bean and touch screen, and that it wouldn’t last.  The problem is that the line is so long at this store, that it often extends well beyond the pastry case to nearly the door.  In effect, the line of people is so long (and on such a regular basis) that it effectively creates a barrier between this area of the store (which is now merchandise) and a customer who might want to gain access to that area of the store.

The chalkboard sign which says ‘Explore Our Whole Bean’ is now an image of the Siren.  Here are a few pictures of this general area:

The menu boards at this store are interesting too.  I believe that they’re made from reclaimed chalkboards from an area high school.  However, I definitely recall that there were complaints about these menu boards when the store re-opened in 2009.  While I can’t find any news stories, or blogs on the topic, some customers, as I recall, were quite irritated to discover that the menu boards list no prices on them whatsoever:

As you can see, this store has a lot of history to it, and it still is a unique and interesting location.  I really had a nice visit on this early morning.  One of the partners there quickly recognized me from twitter – as it turns out, he follows me on twitter.  Though it did not appear that anyone in the group was an active reader.  I ordered a Sumatra Tapanuli from the Clover, and an oatmeal, and continued taking a few pictures.  Everyone was quite friendly.  I chatted for a while with the partner who uses twitter, and he explained that he only recently relocated from a Starbucks in Chicago area to this store in University Village.

Here are an assortment of pictures from this October 19, 2011, visit:


This store also has a beautiful outdoor seating area, and a sign indicating its LEED Certification:

Turning back again to the 1994 – 1995 era of the University Village Starbucks history, I learned a couple of interesting things doing research for this article.  I have a friend who was a partner in 1994-1995, long before her current career as an attorney, and long before I first met her.

This  friend (Cherilyn) tells me that she worked at University Village Starbucks in 1994, hired shortly after the grand re-opening July 1994.  She remembers that her manager later went on essentially establish the Starbucks music department.  (As per Pour Your Heart Into It, that likely was “Tim Jones.”  Per Pour Your Heart Into It, the manager of the University Village Starbucks started the music department of Starbucks.)

She says that when Starbucks launched Blue Note Blend in 1995, the University Village Starbucks was the site of a massive celebration party.  As per her recollection, it was the summer of 1995, and Starbucks hauled a grand piano into the store,brought in a jazz pianist, and set up balloons all over, and threw a fabulous party for the Blue Note launch.  Cherilyn remembers that Howard Schultz was wondering around, and that the store was packed – and still open to customers wandering in and out, and wondering what was going on.  In the midst of the party, due to nearby construction on the University Village site (which would make sense since this was during the development phase of U. Village) something happened with a water main, and the store had no water.  They continued working, undaunted, buying massive amounts of water from the nearby QFC store, located across the street.

So this store goes down in history as kicking off and launching all the music CDs at Starbucks.

I hope you enjoyed this featured Clover Starbucks, and the small slice of the Starbucks history associated with this store.  Last but not least, here is the address:

University Village Starbucks (Store #302)
4634 – 26th Avenue NE
Seattle, WA 98105
(206) 522 5228



(Edit: Whether this store opened September 1972, or November 1972, is not certain. I’ve heard from partners that the official opening date of this store is September 1, 1972, however the Seattle Times historical archives seems to say that it opened November 1972, as reported in the Seattle Times on November 29, 1972.)

Screenshot_2015-01-27-21-37-03 November 29 1972 Univ Village 1




Related Posts


  • Starbucks Dave

    What a really great post Mel. Thank you for sharing such an in depth look at this stores history. Always a pleasure to look back through one of your entries.

  • Melody

    Thank you Dave! I always hope to get a little story with photos, rather than just taking pictures of a store. This store has so much history. Between one reader’s submitted information, and also a co-worker that worked there between 1994-1995, I felt like I was able to give at least a little history to the store. There was a 2nd 1994, 1995 era that I ultimately cut out of the story because this article grew so long. Cherilyn says that it was Christmas Eve either 1994 or 1995, and in the afternoon, and in walks Howard Schultz. The store was slated to close early. Apparently, Howard took the attitude that if his partners had to be working, he should too. Howard donned a green apron and hopped behind the register, and Cherilyn was on bar. Cherilyn says that remembers it well – She thoroughly enjoyed Howard’s chatty,smiley, and social demeanor, but he chatted the register and suddenly the line began to slow down a bit. She remembers thinking, ‘come on Howard let’s move this line along.’ … true story!

  • Hayley

    I haven’t even read the post yet. I only looked at the first photo and had to comment! What a beautiful siren!!! Great choice for the first picture.

  • purple1

    Melody this is one of your best store reviews! Love the history and the pics! I can just see how welcoming this store is to customers. I really like the touch screen for coffee reviews. Have never seen that at any store. Thank you.

  • Melody

    @Purple1 – Thank you!!!! Starbucks pulled that touch screen out of there pretty fast. I think it was gone within 6 months. It was an experiment, and that wasn’t a good spot for it. I don’t think Starbucks is done experimenting with touch screen devices in stores. One of my twitter followers has mentioned that there is a flagship Starbucks in Toronto with some sort of large, interactive device, but I don’t know much about it.
    Good morning! :) It’s been a horribly busy week, and I am so glad it is Friday. As you can see, I haven’t commented much this week, and I’ve barely tweeted or answered emails.

  • nematode

    your store reviews are always so bitter sweet. My store got a remodel 6 months ago it is so sub par everything is falling apart it makes me sad to see such nice looking stores.

  • purple1

    Nematode your comment I find very interesting because I sort of wonder why SB puts more energy into the renovation of some stores and then yours falls apart after 6 months. My local store was renovated about 2 years ago (may be off a bit) and it already looks so tired and certainly does not have the bells and whistles that some other stores have. I really would be curious how SB decides on which stores get what kind of renovations. This University Village store is really nice.

  • AmazonV

    Wow! that is a lot of history for one store, and it is so pretty

    Thank you for waking up a o’dark thirty :)

  • CABarista

    Thank you for this Melody! What an amazing store!

  • Pencil to Paper

    Wow, I love the look of this location! I always love to see photos of a Starbucks with really unique personality and history. The ones I frequent are great, and they’re all a little different, but none of them have quite the personality I see in some of the photos of locations you visit! Thanks so much for sharing! :)

  • Karl Dahlquist

    I remember an older location being right around where the Confectionary is now (according to the current map) In the early 90s there was also a Noah’s Bagels near it also, facing the old QFC (which is now Restoration Hardware, Banana Republic)

    It was one of the old narrow stores where you filed in past the coffee makers, grinders, french presses on the left, did a u-turn near all the whole bean bins, then paid at the register and they would hand you your drink as you walked out the door!

  • Melody

    @KarlDahlquist – That must’ve been the pre-1994 location of the store. I think you’re right, the QFC moved too at one point, because I don’t think it was quite as far from the current location as it was in 1995. It would’ve been slightly easier to go grab water from qfc in1995 than today, though not a big distance difference.

  • Melody

    @Kristen – That is really great research! I wish I had added that in my blog article. Funny how 2006 feels like it was centuries ago in Starbucks-years. I remember people hauling around 10 pound laptops eons ago! One thing about the current design of U Village, which I didn’t say in the blog, but it is a noisy noisy store. It’s so open that sound just is not absorbed by much, and it’s always busy. Somehow it seems even noisier now than before.

  • Annop

    Finally, you review about this store. Good article as always and I am glad to know more about this store.

  • Melody

    @Annop – I thought of you when I wrote this. I remembered that you wanted a store review of this store! Sorry it took me so long. Glad you saw it!

  • Anthony

    Wow, looks nice! I wish they’d bring designs like this out to other markets! They just remodeled a big, two-level store at the University of Pennsylvania that had enormous potential and I couldn’t tell any difference when they were done. I was so disappointed.

  • French Bean

    If I ever get the chance to visit the West Coast someday, I absolutely have to visit this Starbucks. For realz.

  • Melody

    @Anthony – The title of your most recent post is hilarious – “There needs to be an app that will tell you what cologne another guy is wearing so you don’t have to ask him.” — As to store remodels, lots of stores get ‘mini’ refresh remodels which are not the same thing as the big “major remodel” in the eyes of Starbucks. Sounds like your 2-story store only got a mini refresh. :( @FrenchBean – Well, I might make it to Florida someday – You’ve got Clover stores there. :)

  • nematode

    no it was a 10 year remodel

  • Karylle Lynch

    Wow, that Starbucks looks fabulous! The designs are amazing! I can say that this is one of your best store reviews! You really did a great job bringing us back to the past with all your stories. And, I’m grateful to know the history of this place. Thank you for posting!

  • Melody

    @Karylle – Welcome to the blog – Please subscribe and/or “like” the blog’s facebook page. 😉 Sorry but your comment got tied up in my spam filter for quite a while, though in looking at your comment, it doesn’t really look like spam to me. Thank you and I am glad you enjoyed this store review. I love getting past stories about a store, and this store really has that! Thanks! Melody

  • RainbowPaws

    HA HA! little fun fact to add, in the village during the new Microsoft store construction the water line broke! it was my first open as a shift and we had no water… it kept coming back on and turning off! both the “big store” and the “little store” kept calling each other back and forth.

  • Kristen

    @RainbowPaws that happened during the opening of the store on the lower part of the Ave (Sept 2003 or 2004) too.

  • Kristin Wollett

    What a great post! Thanks so much for sharing. It’s amazing how much Starbucks has changed over the years. What an amazing brand huh? :)

  • Adrienne

    I didn’t know this was the second store! I used to study there all the time in college. Crazy!

  • Carl

    Thanks for this great post, Melody! I was fortunate on my last visit to SEA (1997! How has it been that long?!) to stay in a hotel within walking distance of this store, which I visited multiple times daily. I had no idea it was the crème da la crème of SBUX locations but definitely was impressed. I remember the QFC mentioned above and greatly enjoyed the selection there compared to typical grocery stores in the south. One of the surprising aspects of this SBUX location was the offering of drinks in the evening that weren’t available elsewhere. They were non-coffee-based and involved primarily steamed milk and various syrup blends. Perhaps Moonlight was in the category name? I’m sure they are long gone, but I liked the idea of drinks designed as a sort of an alcohol and coffee-free nightcap.

  • Loren Smedberg

    I worked on converting what was the University Village Bakery in to the first Starbucks coffee shop there. I helped renew the walls & ceilings. I remember thinking if a bakery couldn’t make it there how would just a coffee shop make it.

Leave a Comment


Join the mailing list to receive a weekly email with new posts: