Starbucks Coffee Company (NASDAQ:SBUX) has announced its new global store design strategy, setting the stage for a reinvigorated customer experience. Inspired by Starbucks™ Shared Planet™, the company’s ongoing commitment to ethical sourcing, environmental stewardship and community involvement, the new designs will reflect the character of each store’s surrounding neighborhood and help to reduce environmental impacts.
As company-operated stores are built and renovated, Starbucks will source materials and employ craftsmen on a localized basis, and will incorporate reused and recycled elements where possible. Starbucks aims to achieve LEED® certification for all new company-operated stores beginning in 2010. In addition, Starbucks will provide licensed stores and other business partners with design plans and guidance on construction.
“We recognize the importance of continuously evolving with our customers’ interests, lifestyles and values in order to stay relevant over the long term,” said Arthur Rubinfeld, president, Starbucks Global Development. “Our new design approach will allow customers to feel truly at home when visiting their local store and give them opportunities for discovery at our other locations around the world.”
While the new store designs are highly interpretive, they share several core characteristics:
- Celebration of local materials and craftsmanship;
- Focus on reused and recycled elements;
- Exposure of structural integrity and authentic roots;
- Elevation of coffee and removal of unnecessary distractions;
- Storytelling and customer engagement through all five senses; and
- Flexibility to meet the needs of many customer types – individual readers and computer users, as well as work, study and social groups.
“Ultimately, we hope customers will feel an enhanced sense of community, a deeper connection to our coffee heritage and a greater level of commitment to environmental consciousness,” added Rubinfeld. Credited for creating the store atmosphere that helped define the Starbucks brand in the early 1990s, Rubinfeld returned to Starbucks in February 2008.
Starbucks new store design strategy aligns with specific long-term goals related to energy and water conservation, recycling and green construction:
- Derive 50 percent of the energy used in company-operated stores from renewable sources by 2010;
- Reduce greenhouse gas emissions by making company-operated stores 25 percent more energy efficient by 2010;
- Achieve LEED® certification for all new company-operated stores worldwide by late 2010;
- Ensure 100 percent of cup supply will be reusable or recyclable by 2015; and
- Make recycling available in company-operated stores where Starbucks controls waste collection by 2015.
Starbucks recently completed construction on three stores that exhibit the company’s new design strategy:
Opened in March 2009, the 1st Avenue & Pike Street store in Seattle is located near Pike Place Market, just blocks away from the original Starbucks store. Many of the materials used are warm and rustic, reflecting the look and feel of a workmen’s commissary. The columns, floor and ceiling were preserved from existing buildings; the wood in the cabinets was repurposed from fallen trees in the Seattle area; the leather on the face of the bar is scrap leather obtained from shoe and automobile factories; and the community table came from a local restaurant.
The Paris Disney Village store, which opened in mid-June 2009, reflects the rich local culture and takes a playful, storybook approach with educational and large-scale items that encourage parent-child interaction. The wooden cladding on the bulkhead is made from reclaimed Champagne racks; the countertop is made from a material containing recycled mobile phone parts; the walk-off entrance mats were made with recycled rubber from French aircraft tires; and the unique ventilation system utilizes natural convection-exhausting heat that rises through a titanium-paneled tower, significantly reducing energy use.
In late June 2009, Starbucks will reopen a renovated store in Seattle’s University Village. This space channels the creative and intellectual pulse of the neighborhood with features that make it an inviting venue for students and shoppers alike. The countertop bar contains 85 percent recycled content; the douglas fir in the wall fixtures and cabinets was reclaimed from school bleachers; the information piece on the bar utilizes recycled slate from a local school; and the redwood siding on the store’s exterior was reclaimed from hop vine poles in Eastern Washington.
All three stores are currently registered to be LEED® certified. Over the course of the next year, Starbucks will replace incandescent light bulbs inside its stores with LED bulbs as part of a global retrofit program which will result in energy efficiencies and cost savings. The company is also placing plaques throughout its new and renovated stores to explain specific green design and construction elements.
“We hope to not only inform customers about our environmental efforts, but to motivate them to make environmentally responsible choices once they leave our stores,” said Jim Hanna, Starbucks director of Environmental Impact. “Starbucks is a values company and we place a high level of importance on doing business responsibly and conducting ourselves in ways that earn the trust and respect of our customers and neighbors.”
Rubinfeld will deliver several speeches at the Dwell on Design conference in Los Angeles June 26-28 (www.dwellondesign.com), just before debuting the company’s new design strategy with store openings in Seattle and Paris.