Apparently, there's room at the inn for Starbucks
The Annapolis Historic Preservation Commission will allow Starbucks to open a store in the 18th-century Maryland Inn -- an active place of lodging for American colonists during the Revolutionary War. Legend has it that George Washington even kicked back there. To make the move even more fitting, the inn had a stint as a jazz club in the 1970s, so it's obvious that Starbucks' smooth musical offerings fit in as well.
It's just one storefront, but it emphasizes some of Starbucks' most appealing elements. After all, when it comes to that "third place" mentality between work and home that Starbucks wants to fill, what better place than an area that has served as a gathering place throughout American history? Here in Old Town Alexandria, there's a Starbucks in an old stone-and-brick building down by the historic waterfront, and I've always thought that that store was one of the most interesting ones that I have ever had the pleasure of entering. There's something appealing about drinking your coffee where scores of people have passed time over hundreds of years.
Furthermore, despite Starbucks' expansion and coffee junkies' expectation that every drink will have the same level of good quality, it has done a fine job of opening stores with different looks, designs, and feels. Given the idea that many people might be tiring of the same-old, same-old suburban landscape that often comes with the advent of many big-box retailers, Starbucks provides a respite where the quality is promised but the experience still differs, at least a little bit.
Of course, it's not exactly a new idea that thinking out of the box, architecturally speaking, can increase retailers' allure. McDonald's
I'm quite certain that some people will balk at the idea of Starbucks stepping into history. After all, lots of people don't like how ubiquitous some retailers are -- the extreme case of course being Wal-Mart
On the flip side, there is a historical preservation element here, and Starbucks strikes me as one retailer that would be sensitive in its moves into historically significant sites. Those of us who own shares of Starbucks likely find initiatives like this one go quite well with Starbucks' brand.
For more on Starbucks, pour yourself a helping of Foolish articles:
- Nate Parmelee talks to Starbucks' CFO on international growth and more.
- Can you make a million over coffee?
- How Starbucks is a great baby shower stock, and one Fools' first love in stocks.