Today, the world’s largest and most popular coffee chain will open the door to its newest venture – a retail store offering healthy products like juice and salad to its customers.
Starbucks officially announced the purchase of the relatively unknown company, Evolution Fresh, in November when they acquired it for $30 million. The first store will open today in Bellevue, Washington and the company has high hopes for the new business.
“Our customers are looking for a healthier lifestyle,” Jeff Hansberry, President of Starbucks Channel Development, told the media this week. “Juice and nutrition is no longer a fad. It’s a full-blown trend,” he says.
President of global store development, Arthur Rubinfeld is also cautiously (or arguably overly) optimistic about the new venture. “Evolution Fresh is the most innovative store since Apple entered retail,” he boldly revealed in a statement this week.
While everyone at Starbucks remains passionate about the new store – which will sell juice for $8, salads for $8.25 ($10.25 with steak or chicken) and wraps for $7.50 – there are some seasoned experts doubting the success of the venture.
James White, CEO of Jamba Juice – which has been in business for over 22 years – says he’s not worried about the new Starbucks store eating up his portion of the food and juice market. “I’d never heard of Evolution Fresh before Starbucks bought them, and I study the industry,” he says. “It takes time to build a brand.”
Many might argue that Starbucks is a highly reputable brand that could help fast-track Evolution Fresh to success, but that’s simply not the case. The Starbucks brand will play no part in the marketing developments of the new store. Why? “We believe it’s a brand concept that stands on its own,” says Hansberry.
According to Rubinfeld, several new Evolution Fresh stores are set to open in the Seattle area within the year.