Happy New Year to all my readers!  Have you made any resolutions for 2012?  Don’t forget that you can bring in your tumbler (meaning the limited promo tumbler) for free coffee refills during the month of January.  The previous article about that promotion is here.

I decided to start the new year with a blank slate: a totally open thread.  Feel free to share your resolutions for the year, or what you want to see at Starbucks this upcoming year, or anything Starbucks-related.  The funny thing about having a blog like this is that it is a bit like have a restaurant:  I have to always have an enticing menu of food or else people will quickly lose interest.  The novelty effect wears off fast.  As I look back at 2011, there were a number of store review articles, history lessons, and leadership stories that I thoroughly enjoyed.  For me, a number of the high-notes for 2011 were as follows:

  • The future of Starbucks has great promise – I was on cloud 9 watching the new logo be unveiled and listening to Starbucks leadership talk about the future of Starbucks.  (This blog post includes audio of Mr. Howard Schultz, CEO). (January 2011)
  • Starbucks store review – Austin, Texas – In February this year, I took a trip to Texas, and this Starbucks store in Austin, Texas stood out as one of my very favorite segments of the trip. (February 2011)
  • Joe Magazine (1999) – I particularly love glancing back to the Starbucks of the 1990s, and seeing the history lessons for this big company.  Joe Magazine was a creation of Starbucks and sold in-stores everywhere in 1999.  The magazine tanked. (March 2011)
  • Howard Schultz answers customer questions – This is a short audio segment with Howard Schultz answering a few random customer questions.  The actual event that this is audio comes from was held on April 21, 2011, and was part of the Onward book tour.  I didn’t get it up on the blog until May 2011, but it’s still a gem. The Onward book tour created a large number of events with opportunities for customers to directly throw questions at Howard Schultz.  I only wish that I could have personally been at any one of the events.  I do have a friend in Chicago that got her Onward book signed at one!  (May 2011)
  • The Clover Starbucks in Park Ridge (Chicago area) – This was another highlight for my year.  I took a trip to Chicago over Memorial Day, and saw a few Clover stores there.  I have so few blog posts about stores outside of the West Coast, and this trip was a delight, as I met up with two very nice friends, and met some great partners there too. Actually, every store that I visited on this Chicago trip was a lot of fun, so it was difficult to pick this blog post over any of the other Chicago-area store reviews.  (June 2011)
  • The Pink Lime Frozt (a Starbucks test beverage) – I took a trip to Northern California, and had the chance to try a test beverage called the Pink Lime Frozt.  It was a lot of fun to get to try this unique Frappuccino-like drink, but I doubt this will ever make the menu!  (July 2011)
  • The butter coffee tasting:  Starbucks Anniversary Blend – The Olive Way Starbucks (in Seattle’s Capital Hill neighborhood) hosts regular coffee events.  I highly suggest you visit if you can.  This was a world-class coffee tasting experience as we tried butter in our coffee!  It’s a must-read! The partner who guided our coffee tasting is the world-famous “Mikey,” also known as “Mr. Opportunity” because his face can be seen on a Starbucks employment window cling on the windows of Starbucks stores all across North America.  (September 2011)

But I want to know what YOU want to see on this site.  What do you like and what do you not like?  And how often do you want to see new articles?  Knowing all these things will help me formulate  blog content for 2012.  This blog is going on three-years old.  (I started in early September 2009, so I guess about 2 and half years, but it feels like MUCH longer!  It feels like I’ve been at this for years.)  I am still amazed that I haven’t run out of Starbucks stories!

Despite what it might look like, this is still a relatively small Starbucks blog.  As far as I can tell, nothing has ever gone “viral” from this site.  Actually, that might be a totally fun thing to have happen in 2012, but I’m not going to hold my breath.  I really appreciate everyone who comes back over and over again to join in the comments, and “like” the blog posts and is a part of this community.

I really do want to know all your Starbucks-thoughts.  If you have ideas on what I should cover, do tell.  And as I said, this is an open thread.  I want to entice everyone to come give feedback on what you liked in the past (or did not like):  Every comment left below will be eligible for a $75 grand prize Starbucks card.  (Maximum two entries per person.)  All comments must be posted before 8:00 p.m. (PST) January 2, 2012.  I’ll throw all the names into a hat, and pull one out as a winner.  Actually, I’m going to entice my friend “LatteRose” to pull the name out of the hat, so she is not eligible to participate.  (Sorry Rose!)  Be sure to use a valid email address when leaving a comment so that I can easily email you and let you know if you’ve won.  Winners must have an address in either the United States or Canada. As always, comments may not descend into personal attacks, or any rude and harassing comments.  No spam.  The $75 Starbucks card has already been purchased and is just waiting for a winner!  (See attached image).

Thank you again for a great 2011!  I hope 2012 is even better!