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The First Starbucks!

February 6, 2014

I love Starbucks! Maybe I’m crazy (ok, I know I probably am) and spend money on Starbucks when I can make my own coffee at home. But there’s just something about having someone handcraft a cup of coffee or hot chocolate (my favorite!) for you after you’ve ordered it. When I first met my husband, he wasn’t a coffee fan at all, and definitely not a Starbucks fan. But now, I’ve converted him. So, when we knew we were going to be coming to Seattle for a long weekend trip, I just had to look up where the original Starbucks was located to try to figure out if it was a place we’d be able to visit. For the Starbucks lover in me, this was a MUST!

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I discovered that the first Starbucks store opened in 1971 at the historic, and tourist-friendly Pike Place Market. As we were planning on going to Pike Place Market anyways, I told my husband that we just had to go visit the first-ever Starbucks. Located directly across the street from the public fish and farmer’s market on First Avenue, the original Starbucks in unassuming in design. Because the Market and the area around it is considered a historic district with strict design guidelines, the Starbucks still retains its original look from when it opened in 1971.

As I quickly discovered, I’m not the only one who wants to come to Seattle and visit the first-ever Starbucks. The location is a veritable tourist mecca for coffee lovers from all over the world. The inside of the location boasts of its proud fortune of being the first ever Starbucks of the hundreds and thousands that now dot the globe.

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To commemorate its place in history as the first Starbucks, this particular location sells select merchandise and coffee blends that are unique only to this store.  The window display of the store proudly displays some of the exclusive “Made In the USA” merchandise being sold only at this store, including the Pike Place Roast which is different from the Pike Place Reserve you can find at other Starbucks locations.  These commemorative pieces are incredibly popular souvenirs for Starbucks fans.

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The inside of the store itself is a little bare.  The far left hand wall is filled with the exclusive Starbucks merchandise to be purchased, the cashier’s stand at the counter on the far right hand side of the store, and the baristas making the coffee orders are at the very back of the store.  The store looks unlike most Starbucks locations you walk into as it doesn’t feature sofas or chairs or tables to sit at and doesn’t have the pastry display case that you find at most Starbucks locations.  That’s probably due to the fact that this location focuses more on selling merchandise rather than selling drinks.  As it is still a coffee shop, they of course do make all of the same Starbucks coffee drinks you find at other locations, but without the fuss you find at other locations.  This really is less about the coffee and the food and much more commercial.

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Along the wall filled with exclusive coffee blends and merchandise is a sign which explains how the merchandising works at this store.  As the sign says, all of the mugs that are sold here are exclusive to this store and in some what or shape commemorate the first ever Starbucks.  All of the different designs are laid out in cubby holes that you can pick up and look at, but as the sign indicates, there’s no need to hold on to the merchandise and take it with you to the cashier.  As soon as you decide on what you want, you step up to the cashier who has a picture “menu” featuring all of the exclusive merchandise items that you can point at and choose.  The merchandise is all boxed up behind the counter and ready to go for easy transport back to wherever you may be taking it.

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I had to take home my own piece of Starbucks memorabilia as well.  I chose the coffee mug with the representation of the original Pike Place Market location.  I figured it would be something easy to bring home that would commemorate our trip to this particular Starbucks.

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As you walk out of this Starbucks location with your gift bag of goodies in one hand, and your warm cup of Starbucks coffee in the other hand, you’ll look up and see another thing you won’t see at the other Starbucks locations, the original Starbucks logo they used when they opened up this store in 1971 and called themselves Starbucks: Coffee Tea Spices.

It was a treat to visit the original Starbucks location in Seattle, if only to say I’ve been there.  I was so excited I couldn’t walk away without buying some sort of memorabilia.  I can’t help it, I love Starbucks!  A word to the wise though, if you’re going to visit this location be sure to go there early before the crowds build.  By midday, you can be assured that the line will be out the door and almost down the block with tourists who come here for the same reason I came here.  When the line’s that long, if you’re only looking to buy a coffee drink, you’d be best to just head down the street to the next Starbucks location rather than waiting around.  I’m certainly glad that I got there early enough in the morning that I didn’t have to worry about the crowds.  It was nostalgic to be able to see original Starbucks, the location that started a coffee empire!

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