To know where you’re going, you have to know where you came from.
Later this week, I’ll be doing some volunteering as part the Starbucks Global Month of Service. I found myself in need of a new green Starbucks “community service” t-shirt and so after some emails and coordinating, I scheduled a time to pick one up at the Starbucks headquarters. I dropped by the SSC (the Starbucks headquarters is called the “SSC,” which stands for the Starbucks Support Center) at 8:00 AM. In fact, I arrived early.
I sat in the lobby of the waiting area of the 8th floor for about fifteen minutes. As people poured from the elevators into the building, I occasionally waved and said hello to passersby whom I’d met before.
In 2011, Starbucks painted the walls of their lobby area with their business development timeline. It tells the story of a small company that sold just coffee beans in 1971 to global enterprise operating all over the world. This morning, as waited, I carefully looked at the timeline, as I have done many times before. You have to know where you came from, to know where you’re going, I thought. You might enjoy the timeline too:
^ In 1972, Starbucks operated two stores: One at the edge of the Market and the other in Seattle’s University Village shopping area.
^ The 1990s were an era of fast-paced evolution for Starbucks. I know that some people found the Onward era of change jarring, but the 1990s were incredible. From the customer perspective, I saw Starbucks introduce coffee Frappuccinos into stores, begin selling whole bean coffee in grocery stores, expand merchandise offerings, the “short” size dropped of the menu and the Venti size was introduced.
^ 1998, famed basketball player Magic Johnson formed a 50/50 enterprise with Starbucks to operate a little over 100 stores in under-served, urban locations. That venture dissolved in 2010, with Starbucks acquiring the full business interest in those “urban coffee opportunity” stores.
^ In 2003, Starbucks formalized its CAFE practices standards, which is a score card system, grading coffee farms on their treatment of the environment, the condition of their farm, transparency of business operations, and much more. Together, Conservation International and Starbucks developed the CAFE practices system.
And it ends with the word Onward.