A Decade Of Espresso

By Dean McPhail
Wednesday - December 06, 2006
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Dean McPhail

By Dean McPhail
Co-managing Director, Starbucks Coffee Hawaii

The holiday season is filled with stories that evoke a sense of nostalgia. For Starbucks Coffee, these stories recall a specific time and experience, helping mark past accomplishments.

Dec. 12 marks an incredibly important date in our history - the 10-year anniversary of the very first Starbucks Coffee store in Hawaii, which opened at Kahala Mall. Since Starbucks Kahala opened its doors, the company’s biography reads like a classic holiday story, filled with overcoming the inconceivable, and dreams turned realities thanks to hard work by our team members to make a positive influence on the community.

The idea to bring Starbucks Coffee to Hawaii sprang from doing what Starbucks loyalists do best: taking daily coffee breaks to brainstorm our next business venture. The specialty coffee industry was in its infancy at the time, and Starbucks was just starting to be recognized as the industry leader with about 500 locations nationwide. Other than liking espresso ourselves, we didn’t know much about coffee. Yet we saw an opportunity not only to provide our team with a chance to grow, but the potential to share a great experience we’d enjoyed for years with the people of Hawaii.

Glen Duvall, Mark Faildo, Jill Wheatman, Jack Pitcher, Gretchen Turner
Glen Duvall, Mark Faildo, Jill Wheatman, Jack Pitcher,
Gretchen Turner

Among the many accomplishments we are proud of in the last decade, I see our positive growth and ongoing community involvement as particularly remarkable. We currently have 64 stores on four islands with more than 1,200 employees in Hawaii.

Our team maintains an emotional connection with every customer. We make it a point to provide the best training to give our team the best advancement opportunities, because their success is our success. In the words of one of our good friends from Starbucks, “We are not in the coffee business serving people, we are really in the people business serving coffee.”

Starbucks’emphasis on creating meaningful relationships with employees and customers has developed one of our greatest qualities: our community service base. Starbucks is passionate about giving back to the community in which we do business. Our community efforts focus on AIDS research, the environment, culture and the arts and literacy. The various cultural events we sponsor include the Starbucks Ukulele Festival, Maui Film Festival, Starbucks Paddling Series, Hawaii International Jazz Festival and the Hawaii International Film Festival.

This year, the Starbucks Star Poets contest awarded thousands of dollars in prize money to students and their schools. Starbucks also donates a percentage of proceeds from every grand opening to a local charity.

Our growth in Hawaii’s financial sector is also an impressive testament to our overall success. Our partnerships have fueled construction-related jobs, increased opportunities for local suppliers, created thousands of local jobs, and our expanding menu always solicits business from local bakeries.

Starbucks Coffee has added many chapters to our holiday success story thanks to our people and our customers. We plan to continue our tradition of combining the Aloha Spirit with world-class coffee. If the next decade is anything like the adventure of the last, then there is much to be thankful for.

Next Week: Dr. Gary Okamoto, Chief Medical Executive of Rehabilitation Hospital of the Pacific

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