Starbucks opens two brand new stores in downtown Seattle today

Today (July 2, 2012) was the grand opening of two brand-spanking new Starbucks stores in downtown Seattle!  Both are café only stores at the bottom of tall office tower buildings.  Neither one of them has a Clover brewer.

It’s been a long while since Starbucks has opened two new stores on one day in Seattle!  Both are unique and distinctive stores.

Fifth and Columbia

Starbucks store 16741
800 Fifth Avenue
Seattle, WA 98104
(206) 623 3425

The store at 800 Fifth Avenue is a smaller store that opens up towards Fifth Avenue downtown.  It’s at the bottom of the Fifth Avenue Plaza which is 42 floors full of offices.  There’s very little indoor seating in this store, but it has a great front patio area. The partners here are the best ever.  I’ll be honest, I’d been excited about this store becoming a new Starbucks for a long time.  The store manager, Emily, is someone whom I met when she was a barista at the First and Pike Starbucks back in 2009.  I’ve known her for a full three years.  I even have a blog article featuring her ears.  In 2009, I saw her wearing some handmade Via Ready Brew earrings, and snapped a photo of it for the blog.  For years, I told her she had famous ears. 😉  I feel proud of Emily.  She is fantastic.  She is always friendly, and she’s very sharp, and she is an awesome new store manager.  Congrats on your promotion and your first store to manage!   She has a great crew of partners, most of whom I already knew from other stores right in that area.  Congrats to Nancy, Nadia, Ria, Amy, Luke, Michael, and Bo!  I’m sorry if I have forgotten a few names.  Please forgive me!

In case you’re wondering, this Starbucks is a Monday through Friday store only, and is open from about 5:00 a.m., (hours may yet be adjusted) to 6:00 p.m.

Emily’s store on Fifth is not too terribly far from where I work, so I’ve walked past it a number of times, and took photos while it was under construction.  I peered in a couple of times while the inside was still being set up, so I included those in the series of photos below for this store.  I want to point out the great Siren on the wall, and the patio seating:

Before the store open, Emily told me several times that her new store was “built for speed.”  I guess this is the place to go if you want a fast latte! LOL

Here is the rest of the photos of this lovely new store:



Third and Seneca

The other brand new Starbucks in downtown Seattle is at the corner of Third Avenue and Seneca Street.  It’s a little bit more tucked away inside the lobby level of the building.  It also has great access to the University Street Metro bus tunnel stop.  Here’s the address of the other new Starbucks:

Starbucks store #15719
1201 Third Avenue
Seattle, WA 98101
(206) 467 3079

I had dropped by the Fifth and Columbia store early in the morning.  This store at Third and Seneca, I dropped by about one hour before their closing, at about 5:00 p.m.  During my entire visit to Third and Seneca, three partners were working.  The store manager was not there.  I didn’t actually know these store partners in advance of my visit to their store.  (I know that I joke that I know a lot of Starbucks partners, but really,  I don’t know that many partners!)  I ordered a passion tea, and asked for a mini apple pie warmed up in the oven with whip cream atop it.  The partners were happy to oblige.  Everyone was definitely friendly.  I thought it was a nice touch that Juan, the register barista, gave me the pie on a plate with a real fork instead of a plastic fork.  That was exactly what I wanted.  He seemed to read my mind.

The details in this store are fantastic.  I really like the little nuanced touches that Starbucks store design put in this location.  It’s a comfy space designed with ample seating, and plenty of electrical outlets too.

The fixtures are some of the most unique fixtures I’ve seen at a Starbucks.  I’ve heard that this store is intended to have a bit of an “industrial” look reminding one of wrought iron and transportation, and that is in recognition of the fact that it is so extremely close to a major Metro bus tunnel stop/Link Light Rail stop.  Take a look at the interesting pulleys that this lighting is affixed to:

A few more interesting things to point out about this store:  Most of the seating is higher table seating, but the tall stools around the tables are designed as nice, soft comfy stools.  I hope you can see see them in the photos below.  The wall art primarily displays historic Seattle buildings, and has really great lights hanging right over the wall art.  Last but not least, this store has one of the newer style chilled RTD cases, which is not seen in many stores.

I hope you enjoy your tour of these two new stores!

Here are a few more photos of the store at Third and Seneca:


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  • Hayley

    What beautiful store(s) I love the black siren on the wood wall – which I’m sure everyone else will too! Great details, I really hope to visit Seattle stores someday!

  • purple1

    Ok Melody you have to bring Seattle here and the new store designs! LOL. I find it interesting that they opened two new stores on the same day and so close together! But, then this is Seattle. The partners sound outstanding and congrats to Emily. And yes what an interesting way to display the Siren. Wonder if they will do that at other stores?

  • denise r

    I agree, the wooden siren looks great as well as the one on the glass. Very nice designs. (We have those same lights at our mostly-very-badly :( remodeled store over the ‘computer table’. )
    Thanx for the share Melody!

  • DadCooks

    @Melody — if only Starbucks paid 1/10th as much attention to their stores outside of Seattle. I am mainly referring more to the enthusiastic Partners rather than the physical plant.

    I bet the rents are really high, but these locations will probably do well.

    The design might look good to some, but the longer I look the more uncomfortable it appears. How many of the ladies who have to wear a dress/skirt for work are going to enjoy perching on a stool? I do not expect puffy chairs and recliners, but high stools, narrow long tables, and small round tables may be what is taught in today’s design schools, but they have neglected the human element and continue to get away from that welcoming 3rd-place feel.

  • Melody

    @DadCooks – You know it’s funny how design can look one way, and then feel another way when it’s put to use. At Emily’s store, which I just dropped by again this morning on my way into work, I noticed that there is no way to sit inside the store and see what’s happening in the store. Since the only inside seating it the long table against the window, you have to sit with your back to the store. I don’t like sitting with my back to all the action! I’m sure most people want to face the window, so the set up makes sense, but I’d rather look at activity in a store than cars.
    Not every store here has perfect customer service. I think downtown does quite well, but there are a couple of stores which I’m leary of. One in particular, three colleagues have separately come to me and complained about (since everyone in my office knows I like Starbucks, I occasionally become the complaints department, which does make me pull out my hair a bit.)
    However, the good news is that Emily’s store really does have great partners in it! And I was pleasantly surprised with the good service at 1201 Third. I might have to stop by that one again soon.

  • purple1

    Dad Cooks your comments re design I did not really think about but you are right. I too Melody like to face the store and look at people and what is going on. I still think the issue of partner education beyond technical training is sorely needed.

  • DadCooks

    I come from the generation where most men like to sit with their back to a wall and a good view of the door and the establishment as a whole. My Navy training also reinforced this situational awareness.

    Reminds me of a story. A couple of months ago there was a Sheriffs Conference in town for three days. The first day my regular Starbucks was really crowded and the only vacant seat was at my itty-bitty table, so I offered it to a Sheriff looking for a seat. As we sat having a pleasant conversation I noticed he seemed uncomfortable (partially due to the new lousy hard chair), so I said let’s switch seats. He gave me a wink of understanding and we started talking about “situational awareness”. For the rest of the week, my little group of regulars had the pleasant company of this Sheriff and several more. BTW, on the last day of the conference there was a not so uncoincidental roundup of 48+ gang members.

  • Diele

    How beautiful! My store is scheduled for a remodel next month and I sure hope we get build for speed(we are the busiest DT in my district). I also adore the new rtd/e case!!

  • Sparky

    Gotta say, I’m really loving Starbucks’ new look. These two new stores look very nice. Classy. Love it.

  • denise r

    Actually, wasn’t thinking about this at my first glance of these pics but I totally agree with @DadC….. there’s nowhere in these stores (that I can see) that looks like a very comfortable place to sit. I actually know several people who, while not totally handicapped, could never sit anywhere in either of these. One of them is a very sweet nun, one of my Sbux buddies, who comes to Sbux (a friend drives her) every day for her doppio con panna (in full habit) and just turned 90 yesterday….. we had a drink at Sbux but, luckily (and also I think the fact that she’s in habit helps)…the two men who were sitting in the only TWO comfy (leather, with arms) chairs gave her their seats…she has to have a chair with arms on it in order to get up and down, and also a comfy SEAT. (not hard wood or plastic) I know at least 3 or 4 daily customers who are in a similar situation……need the arm chairs, and a soft seat.
    Actually, while very artistically attractive and sleek, the seating in these stores looks very ‘airport’ actually.
    I realize Sbux is obviously focused on the young….. that’s too bad. So many loyal customers are now not-so-young and Sbux seems to essentially, especially with alot of these remodels, ignoring them. (us..????;) We are the ones who have spent plenty of $$$ there for many yrs. Too bad. Actually, today I was in a different store, wealthy area, they’ve only ever had a ‘refresh’ so it’s not a fancy place to look at but it is COMFORTABLE. 8 leather chairs with arms, in a cozy arrangement, for one thing.
    All this rant doesn’t diminish now beautiful these 2 stores are in some ways, but, I agree with DadC……. not so comfortable. and as I said, I know a few people who couldn’t even sit anywhere in these store, for various reasons. (and they’re NOT all 90!)

  • Winter

    Ah, nertz! I hate it when they open Mon-Fri stores–those are such a pain to visit. Even though I’ll probably play a Scrabble tourney in Seattle in the next year, as long as my San Diego job lasts, I might not be able to get Fifth & Columbia until I finish, not unless I fly out later in the morning on a Monday and miss some work hours.

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