First Look: Starbucks’ stunning Italian debut
Starbucks Corp. has entered Italy — the birthplace of espresso and its 77th country to date — with a grand and lavish store that is like no other the coffee giant has ever opened.
The just-opened, 25,000-sq.-ft. Starbucks Reserve Roastery in Milan is the “crown jewel” of Starbucks’ global retail footprint. Located in a palazzo close to the city’s major attractions, the space features such design details as hand-chiseled flooring made of local marble, bar tops carved from Tuscan marble and equipped with radiant heating, and a hand-carved Carrara marble statue of the brand’s signature siren icon. A clackerboard that resembles those used in Italian train stations describe the available specialty roasts.
The mezzanine, which is reached by a sweeping staircase, features a 30-foot long marble bar offering specialty cocktails. It’s also home to a Princi bakery and café, complete with a wood-fired oven. (Starbucks entered into a partnership with the Italian company in 2016.) The building’s terrace has a European-styled street-side café.
“From the palladiana flooring that was chiseled by hand to the bright green clackerboard made by Italian craftsman Solari, everything you see in the Roastery is intentional, offering moments of discovery and transparency.” said Liz Muller, chief design officer, Starbucks.
Starbucks debuted its Reserve Roastery format in Seattle in 2014, opening a second location in Shanghai in December. (Three more are planned, in New York City, Chicago and Tokyo.). The upscale concept is interactive, multi-sensory and high-tech, offering customers an immersive experience. The Milan site is designed to pay homage to the city while celebrating the art and science of coffee. An in-store coffee roaster provides customers with visibility to all aspects of the roasting process, with a 360-degree walk-around view of the manufacturing site.
The physical environment is complemented by an interactive augmented reality (AR) experience that invites customers to use their mobile device to learn more about Starbucks Reserve coffees, the roasting process and the company. The centerpiece of the AR experience is a floor-to-ceiling, wall-to-wall visual representation of Starbucks history and its coffee – engraved in brass by local craftsmen, burnished to an ombre finish and backlit to bring warmth to the story.
The opening of the Milan location has special meaning for Starbucks’ chairman emeritus Howard Schultz. It was on a trip to Milan, in 1983, that he became inspired by the city’s cafes to build his own coffee empire.
“The opening of the Milan Roastery is the story of Starbucks coming full circle,” he said. “Everything we have experienced, since that first moment of inspiration 35 years ago to now being a daily part of millions of people’s lives around the world, we bring with great respect to Italy.”
Starbucks plans to open traditional stores in Milan with licensed partner Percassi beginning late 2018. “These stores will reflect the unique coffee culture of the Italian market, while also offering Starbucks iconic beverage and food offerings,” the company stated.
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Amazon Go opens its third location
Barely a week after its second location opened its doors, Amazon Go has introduced its third store — and its biggest to date.
On Monday, the online giant opened its third cashier-less Amazon Go convenience store in its hometown of Seattle. The 2,100-sq.-ft. location, which was originally announced in January, is its largest store yet, reported Tech Crunch.
The new location will operate between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. Monday through Friday, and between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. The store features ready-to-eat breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack items, and grocery essentials. It also features Amazon meal kits,
To shop the store, shoppers launch the Amazon Go app on their mobile device as they enter, and take the products they want off of store shelves. Amazon’s “walk out” technology automatically detects when products are taken off (or returned) to the shelves, and keeps track of them in a virtual cart. When customers are done shopping, they just leave the store.
Shortly after, they receive a digital receipt and their Amazon account is also charged for the order, according to Amazon’s website.
The e-retailer opened its first Amazon Go store to the public in January. Prior to that, it was open a year in a test mode exclusively to Amazon employees. The online giant opened its second location on Aug. 27, albeit it’s a smaller footprint that features a limited menu and shorter hours.
Amazon plans to expand the concept into other cities, including Chicago and San Francisco.
Eager to give Amazon a run for their money, other retailers are introducing their own cashierless concepts. For example, Walmart is launching a new Sam’s Club concept store that is focused on fresh foods and digital technology. The new 32,000 sq. ft., technology-driven store
location, which will set up shop in Dallas, will feature the company’s Scan & Go mobile self-checkout system, and digital signage. It will also feature fast membership sign-up process, along with self-serve returns, and same-day pickup and delivery options.
Fashion accessories retailer drops anchor in New York
Shoppers can design their own jewelry at Kendra Scott’s new East Coast flagship.
The Austin, Texas-based fashion accessories brand has opened in Manhattan’s SoHo neighborhood. The two-story, 1,700-sq.-ft. store is the retailer’s first permanent location in New York City. It comes after years of successful pop-ups and in-store shop experiences.
The new space was designed with the locale in mind, and includes New York-inspired art that evokes the spirit of the city, along with Terrazzo floors. The first Kendra Scott to feature two floors, the SoHo store is warm, inviting and fashionable. The store offers the full collection of Kendra Scott jewelry, home items, candles and nail lacquer. It also features the brand’s personalized “Color Bar” that allows shoppers to design their own jewelry using a wide range of Kendra Scott stones and silhouettes. (The experience is also available online.)
“I’ve always wanted to open a store in New York City and after 16 years of growing this company, now is the right time to bring a bit of Austin to the Big Apple,” said founder, designer and philanthropist Kendra Scott. “We’ve seen great enthusiasm from our NYC-based customers for this move and are excited to bring our bold pieces and one-of-a-kind store experiences to a location that is known for being at the center of the fashion and lifestyle industry.”
Extending the brand’s commitment to philanthropy, which is a core philosophy for Kendra Scott, the SoHo store will host “Kendra Gives Back” events to connect with the local community and support causes that matter to them, which are just a few of the more than 10,000 events held nationwide every year.
Kendra Scott has 80 standalone stores across the United States, and is also sold in upscale department stores and 600 specialty boutiques worldwide. The company was founded in 2002.