It's no secret that Starbucks
According to The Seattle Times, Starbucks' plan is to use local and environmentally friendly materials that bring to mind the particular neighborhoods where the stores are located. Examples so far include its store across from Seattle's Pike Place Market, which has a coffee bar that utilizes scrap leather from shoe and automobile factories as well as cabinets made from fallen trees in Seattle.
In addition, Starbucks plans to seek LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification for all of its new company-owned stores beginning next year. (I recently wrote about how McDonald's
I've always thought Starbucks did a fairly good job of having some degree of variety and distinction in its stores, but this plan does sound like a greater step in the spirit of "uniqueness," which would be important as Starbucks seeks to retain its differentiation. This sense of differentiation is arguably an important concern, since Starbucks has been doing an awful lot of things lately that might remind one just a wee bit too much of Mickey D's and could possibly tarnish its brand.
The LEED certification is interesting, though, and gives me pause; Starbucks has always given off an air of green and sustainability, so it seems a bit odd that it doesn't appear to have gone for this particular initiative till now (a time when store openings are not a major part of its plans!).
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Personally, I think anything Starbucks can do to continue differentiating itself from rivals like McDonald's, Dunkin' Donuts, Caribou
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