Friday, February 25, 2011

Does Starbucks Feel Like Home

What a perfect time to talk about Starbucks. It’s their 40th year anniversary and they just took a big step in adding a new logo.
'Starbucks logos from 1971 to 2011
In all 40 years of Starbucks success, people have grown to love it. It’s become the coffee hot spot, but is it a social hub.

Even though it’s very popular and usually a great place to go, still some people who attend Starbucks religiously feel they maybe over populated, loud, and a in and out environment.

Scott Hayes a local store manager tells me, “I love Starbucks and it’s usually my first stop through the week on the way to work, but sometimes the lines are a little ridiculous, and I never even think of sitting down.”

Don’t worry though Starbucks has no problem with sales, and getting people in and out of there.

  •   Annualized growth of 25% since 1993.
  •   Currently 11,000 stores. Long-term growth planned is 30,000 stores.
  •   There are 5 new stores opening every day.
  •   They currently serve 40 million customers a week.
  •   Offers health insurance to all employees including part-time
  •   It is less than one-third the size of Pepsi and Coke.
  •  Currently $6.3 billion in annual sales
  •   Higher sales per square foot than McDonalds.

Looks to me like their doing fine, right?

So why not concentrate on the experience. Why not spend a little more time on the setting.

Rachel Leigh House who attends Pete's, a local coffee shop found that “Petes is a local coffee shop that people go to because it’s not Starbucks. Some are against the corporate setting so they go to Pete's to protest, but what’s funny is that Starbucks owns the shop and supplies them with their coffee. So it’s kind of defeating the purpose.”

Starbucks has its regulars, and not saying it’s not a great place to get coffee, but there might be a little competition. Like Cup a Joe where people just go to sit, or maybe Royal bean where there are live bands.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Not Just for Coffee

Up until 2010, Cafe Helios located on Glenwood Avenue, right under the night club Solas, was an old plumbing and heating building.


Don’t worry though, Harry Medlin the owner turned this frog into a prince. It has turned into be a very successful place where you can enjoy local coffee, art, music, and it has become a social hub for Raleigh's coffee lovers, and night owls.

"It’s all about the experience", Hannah Middleton says while she is enjoying a glass of Merlot. Middleton loves going to Cafe Helios at night because she can’t always get up early enough for coffee and breakfast.
She also just loves going to get a glass of wine and listening to music.

Coffee, Coffee, Coffee. That’s what I went for but at 5:00 p.m. on a Thursday I couldn’t help but snag a beer. This place has really good beers from local breweries, but I’m not going to talk about the amazing beer because there is another blog dedicated specifically to that.

When I first walked into Cafe Helios the first thing I noticed was all the Macs. Like some of my fellow students said, "Don't pull out a HP, or a Dell, you'll look out of place". So I definitely didn't take my HP. Other than the favored laptop choice, the environment is very unique. Just by looking at the structure and design, you can tell there was allot of thought and time put into this coffee shop.

I’m glad Medlin didn't leave it to a simplistic little shop. It’s vibrant, exciting, and made me feel like I was getting a little of my night life in at 5:00 in the evening.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Coffee from around the Country

 This week it’s all about some cool deals you can get online.

Thought I’d switch it up with one easy way of keeping up with the coffee world.

Check out this Coffee of the Month Club I heard about. It’s through a company called Amazing clubs, which has a large selection of different clubs from Jerky to Movies.

It’s what every coffee lover dreams about! Every month they'll receive a new selection of two premium quality coffees, roasted in small batches. 

The coolest thing is these coffees come from all over the country. Coffees included in the coffee club have met the exacting standards of the team of gourmet experts, who taste dozens of the very highest-quality coffees every month, before making their choices.

They offer only the finest gourmet coffees from specialty producers worldwide. All of Their coffees are custom blended from 100% Arabica beans, and many have been awarded the highest honors at national taste-testing festivals.

How cool is this!

It’s not even that expensive considering delivery which is free, and the constant income of coffee from around the country. So when you invite your friend Hannah over for a cup of Joe, you can tell her, “How do you like that brew, it’s from Montana, and it’s what the cowboys like”.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Royal Stuff

This week it was Royal Bean on Hillsborough Street right across from Meredith College. Royal Bean is North Carolinas hippest coffee shop. They have a large variety of coffee, espresso, frappes, pastries, and sandwiches. Not only is this place your hippest coffee shop, but an art gallery for local artists. The shop is very popular to students from Meredith and most employees are students or attended at some point.

Katrina Pierce a customer at Royal Bean was sitting in the coffee shop with some friends Thursday evening playing board games, and drinking a cappuccino. She commented, “How awesome is it that we can come in here not just for coffee or studying, but for Jenga, and Candy Land. Who has Candy Land anymore?"

I just had to get something to sip on so I got some good Apple Cider which the barista suggested, and may I say "mmmhmmm, good".

Royal Bean baristas have received recognition from people who love their coffee. They sell whole bean coffee in house, and to make sure it’s fresh, and the quality is the best, the beans are roasted locally and they pick them up their selves the same day.

How about they make their own chocolate used in drinks, and make their own whip cream from scratch!

I would have to say, what a great, laid back place.