The first Starbucks opened in Seattle, Washington, on March 30, 1971
by three partners: English teacher Jerry Baldwin, history teacher Zev
Siegl, and writer Gordon Bowker. The three were inspired by
entrepreneur Alfred Peet (whom they knew personally) to sell
high-quality coffee beans and equipment. The name is taken from
Moby-Dick; after Pequod was rejected by one of the co-founders, the
company was named after the chief mate on the Pequod, Starbuck.
From 1971–1976, the first Starbucks was at 2000 Western Avenue; it then was relocated to 1912 Pike Place, where it remains to this day. During their first year of operation, they purchased green coffee beans from Peet's, then began buying directly from growers.
The Starbucks Center, Seattle. The company HQ, in the old Sears,
Roebuck and Co. catalog distribution center building
Entrepreneur Howard Schultz joined the company in 1982 as Director of Retail Operations and Marketing, and after a trip to Milan, advised that the company should sell coffee and espresso drinks as well as beans. Seattle had become home to a thriving countercultural coffeehouse scene since the opening of the Last Exit on Brooklyn in 1967, the owners rejected this idea, believing that getting into the beverage business would distract the company from its primary focus. To them, coffee was something to be prepared in the home, but they did give away free samples of pre-made drinks. Certain that there was money to be made selling pre-made drinks, Schultz started the Il Giornale coffee bar chain in April 1986