Grounded in coffee

Howard Schultz

In this edited interview with the founder of Starbucks, from the Marketing Society's recent event, Colin Cameron talks to Howard Schultz about the origins of the iconic coffee company and what it takes to stay brand leader in today's more competitive environment

Colin Cameron: I wondered if you could take us back to the beginning and tell us what inspired you to take hold of the company and begin to build what we know today.

Howard Schultz: The answer to the question is really twofold. There were two pivotal moments and both of them involved me walking into a store. The first one was in 1982.

I walked into a Starbucks coffee store – it happened to be the first that ever opened in the Pike Market Place – and immediately I felt a sense of place and quality. Even though Starbucks was not selling cups of coffee, only pounds of coffee, there was a sense of community.