Premiumization: Capitol Hill roastery such a hit, Starbucks ‘looking for real estate in another major U.S. metro’

(Image: CHS)

(Image: CHS)

You let this happen:

The Capitol Hill Reserve roastery, which seems to always be packed with customers, was the strongest store opening in Starbucks’ history, Schultz said on the company’s first quarter earnings call last month.

“The Roastery represents both ‘premiumization’ of the coffee experience and a new chapter for Starbucks,” Schultz said.

The Capitol Hill opening is going so well, the company said it is looking for real estate in another major U.S. metro to open another roastery.

“The company is also planning to open a roastery in Asia in 2016,” the Puget Sound Business Journal notes.

In December, CHS showed you inside the more than $30 million Starbucks Reserve Roastery facility for the first time. The Melrose 15,600 square-foot roasting facility, cafe, and Tom Douglas restaurant continues to pack in crowds of tourists and gawking locals.

As part of the company’s enthusiasm for “premiumization,” Starbucks also announced it was starting a new subscription service for its Reserve brand beans roasted solely here on Capitol Hill — good news for the 100 or so employees including the dozen-member roasting team that works in the facility. Starbucks has said it plans to produce up to 1.4 million pounds of Starbucks Reserve-quality coffee beans in the facility’s first year. The company also plans to supply the Melrose beans to some 1,500 global Starbucks Reserve cafes by the end of fiscal year 2015.

The enthusiasm isn’t far off the notes sounded by the coffee giant in recent years as it rolled out its experiments in non-Starbucks branded cafes around Capitol Hill. By the start of 2011, however, the experiment was partly rolled back and transformed as 15th Ave Coffee & Tea disappeared but some of its more upscale features trickled into the SBUX mainstream. The Starbucks Roy Street Coffee experiment continues, however, six years later on north Broadway.

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16 thoughts on “Premiumization: Capitol Hill roastery such a hit, Starbucks ‘looking for real estate in another major U.S. metro’

  1. He’s referring to all of the gaga Starbucks fans and “must be seen there” hipsters and newcomers who are helping Howard laugh all of the way to the bank.

    • The new store might be characterized in different ways, but “tacky” is not one of them. It’s an elegant space, and a great re-use of an old car dealership.

  2. I will never, ever understand the virulent hatred so many people in this neighbourhood have for Starbucks. You do realise they are one of the most progressive, liberal, giving-back mega-corporations on the planet, right? Sure there’s a Starbucks in every sizable town in the country and they’re often overrun by junior high girls in yoga pants ordering frappuccinos, but they do so many great things for their employees (and, yes, for Seattle). And it’s clear that Seattle’s independent cafes aren’t hurting in the meantime. I am proud that this is in Capitol Hill, and I wish them continued success. Would you rather it be Exxon or Walmart’s flagship store down the block?

    • I’ll drink to that. I’m not a fan of their coffee (it still tastes burnt to me), but I do recognize Starbucks is a big part of Seattle’s economy and prosperity (relative to other US cities). I wish people would recognize the same for the two other “evil” corporations, Microsoft and Amazon. But since they’re big corporations, they’re automatically evil and are generating “zombies” who are “ruining” Capitol Hill. The reality is far more complex, but that sort of deep analysis doesn’t fit in the simplistic Davey & Goliath narrative that too many of our neighbors embrace.

    • Starbux treats its employees well? Bullshit.

      Tell that to the laid-off folks at SODO HQ hauling their shit in boxes after the latest round of “re-structuring” the contents of Schultzie’s wallet.

      And their product isn’t good either.

      But hey that coffee shrine on Pike sure is shiny! Look at the lights!

  3. Wow, i had thought that the “other people like it so it must be terrible” brand of hipsterism had disappeared, replaced by homemade, artisanal dollies hipsters. But no, at least one of them seems to have been given a job to sneer at the tastes of the rubes. It’s so quaint, almost like a living memorial! Quick, what things do you like that no one else has heard of/ everyone else is too tasteless to get? Can you maybe do a quick improv set based around the fast that Cap Hill is being Disneyfied because people are doing coke instead of crack? Wait no, crack was never a Cap Hill thing. Crack isn’t white enough. Now heroin, there is a drug for fine, discriminating white kids to use while thinking that they are better than the society that created them! Those are all broad strokes though, please feel free to use your own underrated talent to expound on what is real and true in this world versus what has been forced down the sheeples’ throats by corporate media.

      • Good thing that you got in on the ground floor. Once too many people like my post, then other people won’t be able to like it any more. It’s a shame, but what can you do?