Starbucks – refreshing the “original” third place

You know the story. Visionary leader builds a revolutionary brand. Visionary leader steps away and hands it off. Brand falters. Said leader steps back in to turn things around.

The first big changes are taking place since Howard Schultz stepped back into the head spot at Starbucks, and honestly, I’m excited to see if and how he makes the chain unique again. I used to love hanging out at the local Starbucks, but recently they’ve just been crowded places with cluttered stores and dirty bathrooms. I guess it deserves an apology to my Sbux barista friends, but hey, at least Peet’s smells like coffee!

That said, changes are underway! One of the first is the company’s new Pike Place roast, named after its first store. Unlike recent practice, the beans will actually be ground in the store (bringing back that coffee shop smell).

It looks like they’re also making the gutsy move of changing up the brand a little (at least for a while). According to Brand New and pictures from the chain’s website, they’ll be using their original logo in the store and on the cups. I’ll be interested to see how the general public takes to the look. People love their Starbucks, but I’m not sure if they realize that character in the middle of the green circle was originally a bare-chested, split-legged mermaid.

(Image from Brand New)

But hey, it signals change, and maybe that’s what’s needed. The store shots from Pike Place look great. If they can give other stores the same feel, it might bring back that original “coffee shop” ambiance. I’m tired of my local third place feeling like McDonald’s!

(UPDATE: Thanks to Jeff’s comment below, we now know the logo is “tweaked” a little from it’s original version. There’s a picture of the cup here. Looks like the mermaid has longer hair to cover herself a little more 🙂 )

For you Pasadena folks, the Starbucks tasting tour (where I guess they’re showing off their new blend) is stopping at Paseo this weekend. Here’s the info.

Paseo Colorado
280 E. Colorado Blvd
Pasadena, CA 91101
10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

For everyone else, here are a few other posts about the changes…

6 responses to “Starbucks – refreshing the “original” third place”

  1. I’m a little apprehensive about the old logo, but I’m looking forward to seeing the store changes/feel.

  2. The “new” logo is not the logo you have pictured. I got my free cup of Pike… and on the cup was an airburshed version of the old logo… let’s just say there were no nippleage…

    Rest easy Grete!

  3. Thanks for the info Jeff! Good to know it’s a new old logo 🙂

  4. My recent visits to Starbucks have not been enjoyable.

    One time they were out of clean plates for my muffin.

    Then I tried to get a bottle of water… but they were out.

    Allison had a pastry that tasted like it was cooked with bleach. She threw it away after one bite.

    I know these complaints have nothing to do with coffee. Maybe that’s the point. Starbucks may just need to get back to the basics.

  5. it’s good.

    as a coffee-from-starbucks drinker there are certain blends I hate (Gold Coast, particularly, but others like Verona are non-faves) and I’ve long said…they need to have a coffee they always brew…something that you can depend on.

    try the ‘featured blend’ if you want it…but not get stuck with bad options.

    i’ve seen many people go to starbucks and ask for a cup of coffee and want to intercede and tell them which of the brews they’re getting is better.

    especially if they’re brewing nasty/disgusting tarish gold coast.

    (my fave: Sumatra! and Arabian Moca Java, Casa Ciello)

  6. Hi Jon- I enjoy skimming through you and Grete’s blogs from time to time. I smiled at this post because one of my roommates in Connecticut used to work at Starbucks and she would say about the old logo mermaid “She needs a support bra!”

    But your post hits home, literally, because we visited the Pike’s Place Starbucks about two months ago on our first trip to Seattle. It is hard to go ANYWHERE here without seeing a coffee stand.

    And Ryan, my husband’s favorite is Gold Coast. So I bet he would disagree with you!

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