Friday, June 25, 2010

Through the fog and smoke the new Starbucks is emerging

Ashley Heher introduces us to the future of Starbucks.

The pilot shows how hard Starbucks is working reinvigorate its brand, which stumbled under the weight of hyper-paced over-expansion. The chain closed hundreds of stores and cut scores of jobs, and founder Howard Schultz returned to help the company re-emerge.

Now, Starbucks plans more measured growth and is working to relax its corporatized image by returning to its days as a place where people want to linger for hours sipping coffee. It plans to offer free, unlimited Wi-Fi in all company-run stores; it's letting customers tailor drinks even more, and it's opening stores with more community flavor. A Seattle shop uses an old bleacher from a nearby high school for shelving, and a New York City store's floors and counters are made of wood reclaimed from a century-old Pennsylvania barn.