History of Starbucks
The history of Starbucks starts back in 1971 when the first store opened in Seattle, Washington. Jerry Baldwin, Zev Siegl and Gordon Bowker got the idea from Alfred Peet (of Peet's Coffee fame). The store initially sold just coffee beans and coffee making equipment rather than the drinks they have become so famous. After about 10 years, Howard Schultz was hired as Director of Retail Operations and came to the conclusion that they should be selling drinks rather than just beans and machines. He couldn't convince the owners, so he went his own way to start the Il Giornale chain of coffee bars in 1986. The next year, Baldwin and the others sold Starbucks to Schultz who then renamed his Il Giornale locations to Starbucks and quickly started to expand. After conquering Seattle, the chain spreads across the United States and then internationally. The first location outside of North America was in Tokyo and they still have a sizable presence in Japan today. Over the course of its life, Starbucks has bought or acquired companies like Peet's and Seattle's Best Coffee, and took over many locations of Coffee People and Diedrich Coffee stores. In the 1990s, Starbucks was offering stock options to employees and went public. Today, Starbucks has expanded to more than 17,000 stores in 55 countries around the world. Their biggest presence is still in the United States, with 11,000 locations. You can find a Starbucks in such diverse nations as Chile, Romania, Bahrain and Bulgaria. The most recent expansion was to Budapest in June of 2010. Though they are unquestionably a successful company, the history of Starbucks does have its share of controversy. Their habit of taking over other smaller businesses and forcing out competitors have given Starbucks the reputation too corporate and too powerful for the laid-back world of coffeehouses. The chain has also had lawsuits involving their tip policies. But they also promote...
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