STARBUCKS IS GOING GRANDE

Icoffef someone had shown me the business plan for Starbucks and asked me to be an early investor I would have said, “Are you nuts? Ya think anyone will plunk down $5 for a coffee you can’t even pronounce?”

And that’s why I still have a piggy bank vs. a robust portfolio of ever growing stocks and bonds.

I go to Starbucks every day and they’re so used to my “grande skinny decaf no whip two-pump mocha” order that they start making it the minute I walk through the door. This is the Starbucks on MacArthur Blvd. in DC as opposed to the Starbucks on G Street, M Street, Wisconsin Ave. and about 78 other DC locations.

You would think they’d start to cannibalize each other, but there seems to be a very steady stream of coffee-loving consumers who drag themselves out of bed each morning just to get their venti latte, caffe misto or pumpkin-spiced frattacino (just made that one up but it might go over well with college guys). There is also, in fact, a big cardboard box o’ coffee you can take home for parties. That kinda reminds me of the jug o’ wine thing from my college days (a whole other blog).

And as for the folks I see every day? It’s everyone from realtors with laptops grabbing tables and moms with strollers to docs in scrubs (hopefully not in the middle of a colon resection) and retirees with a stack of newspapers and magazines dating back 12 years. Heck – it’s everyone! Some of us want to fuel up and go (like me) and the rest want to hibernate for the winter or lock themselves in the 200 sq. ft. bathroom for a quick wash.

But there’s more than coffee and donuts and some odd looking sandwiches coming our way. Now that they’ve got us hooked on some opiate in the coffee, they’re going to start getting our hearts to beat just a bit faster with tea. Starbucks just picked up the Teavana chain for a cool $620 million. That’s in addition to buying Evolution Fresh juices and Bay Bread for munchies (to replace all the sawdust and twine “bread” they now serve).

And if that’s not enough for Starbucks to take on, guess is their new at-home Verismo coffee and espresso will grab a slice of the single-serve pie that Green Mountain has savored to date.

As for me, I’ll stick with my unpronounceable order, test out the new bread and juice, and wish I was with Starbucks Chief Howard Schultz that fateful morning when he woke up, went to the diner, ordered coffee and had his AHA moment. That’s what I call grande thinking.

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